ZIMBABWE international midfielder Willard Katsande is delighted to be recalled to the national team after a year’s absence.
REPORT BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Katsande, who turns out for South African glamour club Kaizer Chiefs, last donned the national team shirt in June last year against Guinea with Rahman Gumbo in charge of the Warriors.
The former Gunners midfielder, widely regarded as the best defensive midfielder in the country at the moment, was red-carded in that encounter, but after serving his two-match suspension, he has never received a phone call to represent his country.
Klaus Dieter Pagels, who took over the reins from Gumbo late last year overlooked the player despite that he featured regularly for Kaizer Chiefs.
The German coach defended his decision to leave Katsande out of the team then, claiming he did not fit into his tiki-taka philosophy.
But Katsande, who is enjoying his game with Kaizer Chiefs, has been given a chance by new coach Ian Gorowa after he included him in the squad to do duty against Mozambique in Harare next weekend.
Yesterday, the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder said it had always been his dream to bounce back into the national team.
“It’s a good feeling to be part of the squad to represent your country,” Katsande said. “It has been a long time since I played for the Warriors and I would like to thank the coach for giving me this chance.
“The local guys have been playing well in the African Nations Championships (Chan) tournament and I think he chose me from the other foreign-based players so that I can adapt to his style of play. I hope to play my normal game so that we beat Mozambique.”
Katsande will be the only foreign-based player in the squad to do duty against the Mambas of Mozambique.
Gorowa has kept faith in his home-based charges who qualified for the Chan finals to be hosted by South Africa next year with the former Mamelodi Sundowns coach making only one addition from the domestic front with Monomotapa defender Obey Mwerahari earning a call up to the team.
The Warriors coach is seeking to build on the success of the home-based players ahead of the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament next year and the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The Warriors will be playing at the Chan tournament for the third successive time since its inauguration three years ago.
Zimbabwe, however, no longer have interests in the 2014 World Cup as they are already out of contention.
The Warriors have just a single point from the qualifiers after drawing against Mozambique.
They have suffered defeats to Guinea and Egypt — home and away.
The Warriors are scheduled to face Bafana Bafana in an international friendly match in South Africa two days after their World Cup qualifier against Mozambique, with the coach set to field the majority of players based in South Africa.
Warriors squad to face Mozambique:
George Chigova, Partson Jaure, Devon Chafa, Tawanda Muparati, Oscar Machapa (Dynamos), Munyaradzi Diya, Masimba Mambare, Peter Moyo, Bruce Kangwa, Milton Ncube (Highlanders), Tafadzwa Dube, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Dominic Chungwa (CAPS United), Eric Chipeta (Hwange), Ali Sadiki, Nelson Maziwisa, Charles Sibanda, Donald Ngoma (FC Platinum), Felix Chindungwe, Kuda Mahachi, Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Silas Songani (Harare City), Obey Mwerahari (Monomotapa), Blessing Chimwamuchere (Triangle), Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs).