BY HENRY MHARA
COSTA Nhamoinesu has once again been left out of the Warriors squad set to be announced today ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Congo Brazzaville, and is now likely to miss out on the final team to the tournament finals.
The Czech Republic-based defender played at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon, but has not featured in the current qualifying campaign where the Sunday Chidzambga-coached men are on the brink of booking their place at the finals set for Egypt in June.
The left back, it appears, is paying the heavy price for refusing to travel to South Africa with the Warriors for the Cosafa Cup tournament last year.
A huge fan favourite in the Warriors set-up, the dreadlocked star pulled out of the squad to Polokwane on the eleventh hour, citing an injury.
It is alleged that Nhamoinesu, who had flown all the way from Europe for the tournament, only raised the injury card after he realised that the team was travelling by road, something that reportedly riled Chidzambga and his technical bench.
He has not been called to the national team since then, missing out on the team’s current Afcon campaign, where the Warriors just need to avoid a defeat against Congo in the decisive Group G match on March 24 at the National Sports Stadium, to book their ticket.
A source yesterday told NewsDaySport that Chidzambga has again snubbed Nhamoinesu from the 30-man provisional squad set to be announced today.
“He has been overlooked again,” the source said.
“He is not part of the squad and as long as this technical team set-up is there, he will not play for the Warriors. Unless he apologises for what he did, he is less likely going to be selected for the finals, if we qualify.”
Nhamoinesu is reportedly not happy with the way he has previously been treated by Zifa.
He was left stranded in Harare following the Warriors’ 2017 Afcon qualifying match against Guinea after Zifa failed to reimburse him for the air ticket he bought for the game played in September 2015.
Kalisto Pasuwa, the then Warriors coach, had to intervene by giving the player money to enable him to return to his base in Europe.
Nhamoinesu is one of the team’s senior players who have not featured for the Warriors in the current campaign despite playing in one of the major leagues in Europe where he is enjoying good form for his Czech Republic league side Sparta Praha.
The 33-year-old former Masvingo United star is one of the regular players in the team and has featured in 18 of the club’s 22 league matches this season, starting in 17 of them.
He is not the only big name player left out of the Warriors squad for the match against Congo Brazzaville, with former national team captain Willard Katsande also excluded from the list expected to be announced this morning.
The Kaizer Chiefs man bounced back into the Warriors fold in the team’s penultimate Group G Afcon qualifier away to Liberia to end his two-year self-induced exile, but his performance in the match where Zimbabwe lost 1-0, did not convince Chidzambga.
The 33-year-old combative midfielder has been struggling for form at Chiefs of late and reports in South Africa suggest that his future at the club is hazy.
Chidzambga, according to another source, has kept faith in the squad that has been doing duty in the qualifiers, with Danny Phiri being the only major inclusion, having missed the last two qualifiers at home against the Democratic Republic of Congo and away to Liberia due to an injury. He will take Katsande’s place on the list.
England-based defender Tendayi Darikwa has also returned after serving his suspension, which saw him missing the trip to Monrovia.
Macauley Bonne of Leyton Orient in the England National League and German-based Kelly Lunga have both been included in the provisional squad, although they are yet to acquire Zimbabwean passports.
Lunga, according to Warriors manager Wellington Mupandare, has already sent his papers to Harare for processing of his Zimbabwean passport, while Bonne was expected to submit his at the Zimbabwean embassy in London yesterday to begin the process.
The highly-rated 23-year-old Bonne has featured for the Warriors before in friendly matches, but requires a Zimbabwean passport to play in competitive matches.
If he gets the passport, he will compete for space with strikers Knox Mutizwa, Tino Kadewere and Evans Rusike.