There was renewed optimism yesterday that the Europe-based footballers, that the national coaches have been pursuing to represent the country, could soon get the required Zimbabwean passports after the President’s Office got seized the matter.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Warriors’ team manager Wellington Mupandare was yesterday invited for a meeting at the President’s Office, in a bid by the authorities to try and help speed up the processes.
Defenders Adam Chicksen, of Bradford City, and Tendayi Darikwa, who plays for Nottingham Forest in England’s second-tier league, have been called up for camp ahead of the Warriors Africa Cup of Nations Group G qualifier away to Congo Brazzaville in two weeks’ time.
The two have since applied for Zimbabwean passports, but the process has been dragging and the coaches had given up hope of having the two for this match.
But with yesterday’s meeting, it looks like the travel documents issue, which had stolen headlines in the last few months, could soon be settled to give the coaches further options.
Some of the players that the coaches have sought to bring in for international assignments include the England-based Reading’s Andy Rinomhota, Admiral Muskwe, who plays for Leicester City, as well as Leyton Orient forward Macauley Bonne, among others.
With the Warriors’ crucial tie looming, captain Knowledge Musona has started to hit the right notes after he scored his first goal for his new club Anderlecht on Sunday.
Musona’s team lost to champions side Club Brugge 2-1, playing away from home in a league match.
Club Brugge, who are missing Marvelous Nakamba through a knee injury, scored first within the first 10 minutes before Musona restored parity before the break.
There were more goals for the Warriors at the weekend, with Kaizer Chiefs’ star Khama Billiat also getting on the scoresheet in a cup match against Kaitano Tembo’s SuperSport United.
Billiat scored Chiefs’ first goal and then provided an assist for the second, as he put up one of his best performances for the Glamour Boys.
There is still uncertainty over Nyasha Mushekwi’s availability for the Warriors in their next assignment, but the big striker has been scoring for fun.
At the weekend, he netted his tenth goal of the season in Dalian Yifang’s drawn match against Chongqing Dangdai Lifan.
Mushekwi’s team are three points above the relegation zone, but have enjoyed good form of late, with the former Caps United forward spearheading the attack.
They have only lost one match in their last five outings and Mushekwi has been the star of the show.
Yesterday, Zifa made a formal request for Mushekwi’s services at his club, even though there has been talk that the Chinese outfit were planning to have him undergo a minor operation during the international break.
Zimbabwe currently top the group with three points, but on goal difference, following their 3-0 win over Liberia 3-0 in their opening qualifier.
The group also consists of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are second on the standings following their 3-1 win over the Republic of Congo in the opening fixtures of the campaign. The two top teams in the group qualify for the Afcon finals to be staged in Cameroon next year.
Warriors provisional squad
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane), Donovan Benard (Ngezi), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank), Talbert Shumba (Chapungu)
Defenders: Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Alec Mudimu (Cefn Druids AFC), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Eric Chipeta (Cape Umoya United), Adam Chicksen (Bradford City), Byron Madzokerere (Yadah)
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Orlando), Lucky Mkosana (Penn FC), Danny Phiri (Golden Arrows), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum Stars)
Strikers: Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows), Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Evans Rusike (SuperSport), Kelly Lunga (SC Bonner), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits), Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang), Tinotenda Chibharo (FK Sloboda Uzice)