BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
ZIMBABWE Under-23 coach Tonderai Ndiraya is leaving nothing to chance in his bid to qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals after naming a 27-member squad loaded with nine foreign-based stars.
Germany-based midfielders Shama Bako and Seth Patrick, who turn out for VFB Luebeck headline the list of the European-based players called to camp.
Spain-based goalkeeper Martin Mapisa and Matifadza Zata, who play for Scottish side Dundee United have also been called up; so has Maritzburg United striker Junior Zindoga and Farai Mutatu of Michigan State in the United States.
Defender Reward Mwakona, who plays for Northern Island side Ards FC and Enrique Ndlovu (AS Trencin, Slovakia) were also called up.
South Africa-based Nicholas Guyo is also in the team. Dynamos midfielder Kudzanai Dhemere, Triangle United’s Delic Murimba, Manica Diamond defender Peace Makaha are the notable home-based players who were called up.
Ndiraya said he invited the foreign-based players after watching some videos of the players in action.
He also said he had verified that the players’ papers were in order.
“I collected and watched videos of the players in action. I also had an opportunity to talk to their coaches and they assured me they will compete,” Ndiraya said.
The Warriors coach, however, stressed that the foreign-based contingent would not have automatic shirts in the team, but will have to fight for them.
“We told them their places are not automatic, they will have to compete. We will be very fair in our selection. We have called up 27 players and everyone has to fight for their place. What we are trying to do is to build a base for the senior team and I am sure if you look at the squad, they have potential,” he said.
The Young Warriors will take on Mozambique on March 22 away with the return leg set for Harare four days later. The winner of the two-legged tie will meet either Angola or South Africa.
Goalkeepers: Martin Mapisa (Velez CF, Spain, Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum, Spencer Ngwerume (FC Platinum)
Defenders: Reward Mwakona (Ards FC, Northern Ireland), Enrique Ndlovu (AS Trencin, Slovakia), Hastings Chapusha (Harare City), Mbongeni Ndlovu (Highlanders), Peace Makaha (Manica Diamonds), Shadreck Nyahwa (Bulawayo Chiefs), Marvelous Chigumira (TelOne), Collin Mujuru (Harare City)
Midfielders: Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), Marlvin Kwinjo (Ngezi ), Kudzanai Dhemere (Dynamos), Farai Mutatu (Michigan State, US), Shama Bako (VFB Luebeck, Germany), Seth Patrick (VFB Luebeck, Germany), Kelvin Ndebele (Caps), Matifadza Zata (Dundee United, Scotland), Anelka Chivandire (Triangle), Nicholas Guyo (Ubuntu, Cape Town, SA)
Strikers: Delic Murimba, (Triangle), Junior Zindoga (Maritzburg, SA), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Wilfred Muvirimi (Harare City), Aubriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn), Tino Benza (Herentals)