Ray Bande Senior Reporter
FOOTBALL pundits have applauded Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa for infusing experience and talent in his provisional 34-man squad ahead of the Cosafa Cup and Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Chidzambwa breathed new life into the international careers of about half-a-dozen players, closed the door on a dozen others who were part of the last Afcon finals and kept faith in those players who served him with distinction during the qualifiers.
There was no place for combative defensive midfielder Willard Katsande and his homeboy Onsimo Bhasera as Chidzambwa accommodated a number of foreign based players, among them Admiral Muskwe, Tinotenda Kadewere, Nyasha Musekwi and Marvelous Nakamba.
Witness Chiatakatira commended Chidzambwa for bringing in new faces into the squad.
“It is good that we are now seeing new players in the squad, something that we had not seen for some time. This is a good development as it increases the level of competition for places in the national team. Way back some players appeared like they were guaranteed of places in the national team,” said Chitakatira.
South African-based Mutare football benefactor James Lunga Meya applauded the Warriors technical team for assembling a balanced squad.
“I am very happy with the provisional squad announced by our technical team though I would have wanted our boys from Mutare Willard Katsande and Onsimo Bhasera to make it onto the list. However, we need to take into consideration that the competition at this stage is very tough and currently everyone selected into that squad has been doing extremely well at their respective clubs.
“I fully support the decision by the entire technical team and specifically team manager Wellington Mupandare who is doing well after filling the big shoes of Sharif Mussa,” said Meya.
Paul Sigauke, of Dreamhouse, Chikanga in Mutare said the squad has potential to cause major surprises at Afcon 2019 in Egypt.
“I think we have players that are capable of causing major surprises at the Afcon 2019 in Egypt. The youngsters have the zeal to impress and forge ahead with their careers and they understand very well that this is a platform to market their skills and sacrifice for the love and pride of their fatherland,” said Sigauke.
Bongai Dube, of Zimunya, said Zifa should give the team adequate time to prepare.
“I think Mhofu did a good job in selecting the best of what we have as a nation. Those players named in the provisional squad made it on merit and there is no doubt about that.
“We expect Zifa to give the team adequate time to prepare. We are happy to hear that the team will camp in Dubai and play a friendly match against the Super Eagles before flying to Egypt. We hope this will materialise,” Dube said.
2019 COSAFA and AFCON finals
George Chigova; Edmore Sibanda; Elvis Chipezeze; Talbert Shumba
Dennis Dauda; Lawrence Mlanga; Jimmy Dzingai; Byron Madzorere; Alec Mudimu; Teenage Hadebe; Divine Lunga; Ronald Pfumbidzai; Tendai Darikwa
Danny Phiri; Marshall Munetsi; Marvellous Nakamba; Butholezwe Ncube;Tafadzwa Kutinyu; Ovidy Karuru; Khama Billiat; Kudakwashe Mahachi’Tafadzwa Rusike; Richard Hachiro; Talent Chawapiwa’ Leeroy Mavunga; Knowledge Musona; Thabani Kamusoko; Rodwell Chinyengetere.
Nyasha Mushekwi; Evans Rusike; Walter Musona; Tinotenda Kadewere’ Knox Mutizwa; Admiral Muskwe