Ray Bande Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS caretaker coach Joey “Mafero” Antipas is not panicking over the possible unavailability of a number of foreign based players he had named in the enlarged 32-man squad to do national duty in Zimbabwe’s crucial 2021 Afcon qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia this month.
The Warriors host Botswana on November 15 and then travel to Zambia four days later as they seek a third successive Nations Cup qualification.
Fears abound that some foreign players, especially most of those that are yet to make their national team débuts, might not eventually make it for different reasons, more so after Hamburger SV Under-19 captain, Jonah Fabisch, was ruled out on Wednesday citing club commitments.
“I think this will somehow derail our plans if we continue to have players pulling out for different reasons. We announced that squad because we believed we needed them to achieve our goals.
“Now that some of them are pulling out it will obviously derail our plans. There is really nothing much we can do if a player chooses to focus on his club commitments.
“However, we will always have to find Plan B. In fact, we have Plan B. That is the reason we announced a 32-man squad. We believe we will still get the results we want with the players that will eventually make it into the final line up,” said the Chicken Inn trainer.
Even though he has a Zimbabwean passport, in a letter to ZIFA, his mother said although her son was keen to play for Zimbabwe, he has commitments with his club in the weeks the Warriors are scheduled to take on Botswana and Zambia.
Fabisch is part of a generation of players raised in Europe, with Zimbabwean roots, who had been included in coach Joey Antipas’ 32-member squad.
He is the son of the late former Warriors coach, Reinhard, and qualifies to play for Zimbabwe through his mother, Chawada Kachidza-Fabisch.
In his provisional squad, Antipas named 10 players from the South African Premier Soccer League in a 32-man provisional squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month.
Among some of the foreign based players that have been called into camp for the first time by Antipas are red-hot Charlton Athletic forward Macauley Bonne, Bournemouth defender Jordan Zemura, Bolton Wanderers defender Adam Chicksen, Kidderminister Harriers defender Cliff Moyo and Swansea defender Tivonge Rushesha.
Already, Rushesha has pulled out of the qualifiers after sustaining an ankle injury that will rule him out of action for, at least, four weeks.
Bonne, who has scored five goals in his last six matches for English Championship side, Charlton Athletic, has been waiting for a Zimbabwean passport since May when he announced to the world he was on his way to join the Warriors at the 2019 AFCON finals.
Star man Khama Billiat from Kaizer Chiefs headlines the team, along with the Super Sport United duo of Kuda Mahachi and Evans Rusike.
Lamontville Golden Arrows forward Knox Mutizwa also got the nod with his club-mate and fullback Divine Lunga in the mix too.
Chippa United defender Kelvin Moyo, Bloemfontein Celtic fullback Ronald Pfumbidzai, and the AmaZulu pair of midfielders Ovidy Karuru and Butholezwe Ncube were also named.
Baroka FC goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, who had a nightmare at the 2019 Nations Cup finals in Egypt, was given another chance to impress.
Antipas also recalled Belgian-based striker Knowledge Musona.
Zimbabwe provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka FC, South Africa), Martin Mapisa (Velez CF, Spain), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)
Defenders: Douglas Nyaupembe (Stockport County, England), Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba), Tivonge Rushesha (Swansea City, England), Cliff Moyo (Kidderminister Harriers, England), Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows, South Africa), Adam Chicksen (Bolton Wanderers, England), Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth, England), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic, South Africa), Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids, Wales), Partson Jaure (Manica Diamonds), Kelvin Moyo (Chippa United, South Africa)
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims, France), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United, Zambia), Butholezwe Ncube (AmaZulu, South Africa), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa, England), Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu, South Africa), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United, South Africa), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa), Phenias Bamusi (Caps), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV, Germany)
Strikers: Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City, England), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits, South Africa), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC, France), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows, South Africa), Macauley Bonne (Charlton Athletic, England), Evans Rusike (SuperSport United, South Africa)