Benjamin Marere’s injury has cost him a place in the 2011 Warriors squad for the African Nations Championships (Chan) after he was excluded from the final list of 23 players released on Thursday.
The finals run in Sudan from February 4-25. Zimbabwe, who are in Group B which features Niger, Ghana and South Africa are set to leave for Sudan on February 2.
National team assistant coach Darlington Dodo, who also doubles up as the Under-23 assistant coach said they had decided to drop the influential Marere because he was injured.
“Marere is struggling to recover from the knock he got last week and we did not want to take a risk,” said Dodo.
“But this is just a provisional squad and the players we dropped have an equal chance of making it to the final list. If a player gets injured today we can still replace him,” said Dodo.
The deadline for the submission of the final players’ list is January 24, but the Warriors technical team had been given up to Wednesday to name their final squad to expedite travel arrangements and processing of documents.
National team manager Christopher Chitindi and the team’s liaison officer Edzai Kasinauyo released the names of the squad on Thursday through a press release.
A scheduled press conference did not take place and it was later established the acting head coach Madinda Ndlovu and his assistants were drilling their team against the Under-23 side who are taking on Zambia in the second leg, preliminary round qualifier of the All-Africa Games at Rufaro on Sunday.
The speedy Marere, twisted his ankle last week after he clashed with tough tackling defender Arnold “Taiwo” Chiveya and he has not recovered since.
Apart from Marere, Ben Nyahunzvi and Brian Mapfumo, who both made the cut, there were no other big surprises as the technical team also sought to look into the future by including six promising Young Warriors players.
Goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, Qadr Amin, Denver Mukamba, Archford Gutu, Joel Ngodzo and the highly rated Simbarashe Sithole were all included in the final squad.
Other big names that failed to make it to the final list include Dynamos’ new acquisition Francis Kanda, Hwange’s veteran goalkeeper Timothy Sibanda and Lengthens left back Chiveya, while Ziscosteel’s Munyaradzi Mungazi also missed out.
The Warriors will open their campaign with a relatively easier game against little known Niger on February 5 before engaging the Black Stars on February 9 and will finish their group games against neigbours South Africa four days later.
The top two teams from each group advance to the quarter-finals.
The quarter-final winners will progress to the semi-final with the winners qualifying to the final.
In the first edition in Ivory Coast in 2009 under Sunday Chidzambwa, Zimbabwe drew its three group games against eventual champions, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Ghana and failed to make it to the quarter-final stage.
W Arubi, T Dube, A Sibanda
G Zhokinyi, D Vheremu, B Nyahunzvi, N Mukumbi, Z Ngodzo, D Boriwondo, Q Amin, G Mapemba
E Meleka, E Mudzingwa, B Ncube, D Mukamba, A Gutu, C Chiutsa, B Mapfumo, J Ngodzo
C Sibanda, C Kawinga, N Maroto, S Sithole.