Knowledge Musona will be part of the cast when the Warriors engage Angola in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations first leg qualifier at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday, team manager Nyika Chifamba confirmed yesterday.
The Warriors chief striker was a major doubt for the match despite having announced his return from international football retirement last month.
The Germany-based striker, through his lawyer Misheck Hogwe of Hogwe, Dzimirai and Partners, had said Zifa sought his release from his club late.
He was not sure if his new employers in the Bundesliga, Augsburg, would release him due to the late call-up.
However, Chifamba yesterday said he had spoken to Musona and the striker would be part of the Warriors crew expected in the country today ahead of the Sunday match.
Chifamba said Botswana-based Arnold Chaka and the South Africa-based duo of Oscar Machapa of Moroka Swallows and Black Leopards striker Abbas Amidu arrived in the country yesterday afternoon.
“We have been in touch with him and he is definitely coming. We expect him tomorrow (today),” said Chifamba yesterday on Musona.
“Only three players have arrived so far and the rest of the players should be here tomorrow (today).”
The injured duo of striker Mike Temwanjira, who was expected to make a comeback to the Warriors squad after a long time on the sidelines, and captain Tapuwa Kapini are also expected in the country.
The Warriors medical staff said they wanted to have their own assessment of the injuries before they could rule them out.
Chifamba said possible replacements had already been notified although the former Dynamos team manager refused to give away the names.
It is Musona’s availability for the Sunday match, though, that will certainly excite the Warriors fans.
The 22-year-old has been the heart and soul of the Warriors in the past two years, scoring crucial goals for his country, including the golden one against Burundi that swept Zimbabwe into the final qualifying round.
He has been in good form for Augsburg, playing almost every minute in the team this season.
Musona took a sabbatical from international football after he was accused of match-fixing by Zifa. He had initially said he would return to the national team only after Zifa had issued a public apology.
But after “a litany of pleas from fans and various stakeholders”, Musona reconsidered his earlier position.
Meanwhile, Zifa have insisted on hiking the gate charges for the Sunday encounter.
The cheapest ticket has been pegged at $10 from the $5 the fans are accustomed to paying for the national team home matches.
The upper grandstand will cost $30 while a ticket to the VIP enclosure costs $50.
Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said they were left with no option after failing to secure funding from both the government and the private sector.
He said the charges were arrived at after considering the direct expenses of the match which include, $50 000 for the foreign-based players’ air fares from their respective bases.
Mashingaidze said they also needed to raise a further $50 000 to cover accommodation expenses for both the Warriors and the visitors in addition to $10 000 for the match officials’ upkeep in the country.
Considering the importance attached to the tie, Zifa will seek a further $60 000 for the players’ bonuses to add an extra incentive for the team to go for a comfortable win, ahead of the second leg in Luanda.
Warriors squad: Marlon Jani, George Chigova, Tapuwa Kapini, Ariel Sibanda, Carrington Nyadombo, Onismor Bhasera, Esrom Nyandoro, Arnold Chaka, Innocent Mapuranga, Passmore Bernard, Noel Kaseke, Oscar Machapa, Vusa Nyoni, Tinashe Nengomasha, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Archford Gutu, Peter Moyo, Khama Billiat, Abbas Amidu, Knowledge Musona, Denver Mukamba, Mike Temwanjira, Takesure Chinyama, Quincy Antipas, Donald Ngoma, Nelson Mazivisa.