WARRIORS coach, Sunday Chidzambga has handed first international call-ups to five players, who he included in the squad to represent the country in a four-nation invitational tournament in Zambia next week.
BY HENRY MHARA
The competition, which also includes Angola, South Africa and the hosts, runs from March 22 to 25.
Chidzambga yesterday announced a 20-man squad for the tournament, a mixture of regulars and new faces seeking to begin their international careers.
The veteran coach, who is trying to strengthen his pool for players, named the British-born Zimbabweans, Adam Chicksen and Alec Mudimu. Cliff Moyo, who arrived in the United Kingdom aged 9, is also part of the squad.
Other players that have received their first national teams call-ups, as revealed by NewsDaySport last week, are midfielder, Marshall Munetsi and Butholezwe Ncube, who play in the South African Premier League for Orlando Pirates and Amazulu, respectively.
However, it is the British-based stars, who should be of huge interest to local football fans. Chicksen, the Milton Keynes-born defender, plays for English League One club, Bradford City.
The 26-year-old is of Zimbabwean and Chinese descent and qualifies to play for the Warriors as his father is from Harare.
Bradford City yesterday confirmed their defender has been called for national duty. The highly-rated defender has previously played for clubs such as Brighton & Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic, MK Dons, Fleetwoood Town and Leyton Orient.
Mudimu, who was also born in England, is arriving with a high profile.
The 22-year-old midfielder plays in the Welsh Premier League for Cefn Druids, a team he joined in November last year. According to reports from the United Kingdom, he has been doing well since joining the club and numerous teams in the English League One side, including former Jamie Vardy’s Fleetwood Town, where, he had trials recently, are looking to sign him.
“Alec was with Fleetwood on trials and they liked what they saw,” Cefn Druids coach, Huw Griffiths said.
“They have declared an interest in Alec and they will monitor him in the next couple of games. Alec has interest from elsewhere, not just Fleetwood, and it will be about making sure any move is in Alec’s best interests. He’s a lovely lad. He’s been brilliant for us and he absolutely loved his trial with Fleetwood. He’s had a taste of Football League life with Fleetwood and we will just have to see what happens.”
Moyo plays for Halifax Town, a club in the National League, the fifth-tier of English football.
He is a Zimbabwean, who moved to England, when he was nine. He has been trained by the likes of Paul Scholes, Danny Mills and Ryan Giggs, as part of their coaching badges at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Warriors manager, Wellington Mupandare yesterday said the trio have confirmed their availability.
Returning are Costa Nhamoinesu and Marvelous Nakamba, the most capped players in the team, who lead a host of other foreign-based players, called up including former Harare City duo of Silas Songani and Tino Kadewere.
Captain, Knowledge Musona, Kuda Mahachi and Khama Billiat, have been left out due to injuries.
Mupandare said all the foreign based players, except for Nakamba will connect straight to Zambia from their bases.
The Belgium-based Nakamba is expected in Harare early next week and will join four local based players for the trip to Ndola on Monday.
Zimbabwe will play Zambia on March 22, while on the same day, South Africa will play against Angola.
Losing teams from the first games will play in the third and fourth place play off on March 25, while winners play the final on the same day.
Zimbabwe are using the two matches to prepare for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match away to Congo in September. The Warriors lead Group G with three points, following their 3-0 win over Liberia early this year.
The group also has the Democratic Republic of Congo, who also have three points, and with two top teams from the group qualifying for the finals to be held in Cameroon in 2019, Zimbabwe will be fancying their chances.
Goalkeepers: Takabva Mawaya (ZPC Kariba), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs, SA), George Chigova (Polokwane City, SA)
Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu (AC Sparta Prague, Czech Republic), Praise Tonha (Caps United), Jimmy Dzingai (Yadah Stars), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Devine Lunga (Chicken Inn), Adam Chicksen (Bradford City, England), Cliff Moyo (Halifax, England)
Midfielders: Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge, Belgium), Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka, SA), Aleck Mudimu (CEFN Druids, Wales), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu, SA), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates, SA), Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF, Sweden)
Strikers: Evans Rusike (SuperSport United, SA), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu, SA) Silas Songani (Sonderjyske, Denmark), Abbas Amidu (Entag El Harby, Egypt)