CUTHBERT Malajila has bounced back into the national team after coach Klaus Dieter Pagels included him in his 25-man squad to face Egypt at the National Sports Stadium next weekend and Guinea the following week.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI/TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Maritzburg United striker, who is set to complete his move to South African football giants Mamelodi Sundowns, last played for the Warriors under Rahman Gumbo towards the end of last year.
The former Chapungu, Highlanders and Dynamos striker was part of the squad that fell 0-2 to Angola in the decisive 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in Luanda — a result which handed the hosts a ticket to the continental soccer show piece held in South Africa in January.
Gumbo was subsequently replaced by German mentor Klaus Dieter Pagels who was tasked to rebuild a team for the 2015 African Cup of Nations finals. But, Pagels had overlooked Malajila as he assembled his new-look squad.
However, according to the list released by team manager Sharrif Mussa yesterday, the German coach decided to give him a chance after a good season for his South African club Maritzburg United where he scored 11 goals, in the process attracting interest from Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.
Malajila revealed he was delighted with the call-up. “It’s the dream of every player to be called to the national team. I am happy that my efforts have been recognised. I have always wanted to give back to my national team,” said Malajila.
The inclusion of Malajila is the only major change to the squad that played in a 2-1 losing cause in the first leg in Alexandria on March 26. Chicken Inn defender Felix Chindungwe, Hwange’s Eric Chipeta, Monomotapa’s Nicholas Guyo and Dynamos goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi are the other additions to the squad.
Kaizer Chiefs forward Mathew Rusike and Supersport United striker Simba Sithole who missed the trip to Alexandria owing to injury are also back in the squad.
Mussa said Quincy Antipas was supposed to be in the squad, but was ruled out owing to a recurrent injury. “He was supposed to be in the squad, but he asked to be excused because of his recurrent injury. We also felt since it’s now off-season, this is the best time for him to get treatment,” said Mussa.
The Warriors team manager said the team would go into camp on Monday evening in preparation for the Egypt match. He said after the match, the team would remain in camp ahead of the trip to Guinea and that the coaches would announce if they make changes to the squad.
The Guinea match itself is in jeopardy after a wave of pre-election violence in the capital Conakry left 12 people dead.
Acting chief executive Brian Moyo, however, said they would stand guided by Fifa on the situation in that country.
“We are following the events with interest, but we will stand guided by the organisers of the match, in this case Fifa, just like we did for the Egypt match.
“When they (Fifa) get such things they usually act because there is the issue of the security of our delegation that will be travelling there. But we believe that a decision will be made by the time we go there,” Moyo said yesterday.
The Warriors had to seek assurances from the Egyptian Embassy before their last match in Egypt, which was eventually played in the port city of Alexandria, 250km from Cairo where there were riots.
Fifa though, has already taken a stand for the South Africa-Central African Republic 2014 World Cup qualifier and moved it to Cameroon due to disturbances in that country.
At least 12 people have been killed in Guinea during five days of protests over preparations for a legislative election, the government of the West African State said on Monday. Guinea’s opposition called its members onto the streets in March to protest against the government’s plan to go ahead with the vote on June 30, over fears the vote would be rigged. More than 50 people have been killed in total and about 350 wounded since the protests began.
Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (Tuks, SA), Max Nyamupangedengu (Harare City), Artwell Mukandi (Dynamos).
Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi (Caps United, Zim), Patson Jaure, Ocean Mushure (both Dynamos), Lincoln Zvasiya (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Felix Chindungwe, (Chicken Inn), Eric Chapeta (Hwange), Nicholas Guyo (Monomotapa)
Midfielders: Denver Mukamba (Bidvest Wits, SA), Archford Gutu (Kalmar, Sweden), Silas Songani (Harare City), Abbas Amidu (Black Leopards, SA), Tafadzwa Rusike, Khama Billiat (Ajax Cape Town, SA), Ronald Chitiyo (Monomotapa), Masima Mambare (Highlanders), Ovidy Karuru, Devon Chafa(Dynamos) Mathew Rusike(Kaizer Chiefs,SA),
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (Augsburg, Germany), Rodreck Mutuma (Bloem Celtic, SA), Simba Sithole (Supersport, SA), C uthbert Malajila (Maritzburg United).