BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Defence stalwart Costa Nhamoinesu dropped a bombshell on Wednesday evening, announcing that he had called time on his Warriors career at a time that the technical team of the Zimbabwe senior men’s national football team was finalising on the training squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
Nhamoinesu, who had been ignored in the qualifiers after he fell out with the technical team, was in the frame for a recall to the side ahead of the finals that will be played in Egypt, starting on June 21 and ending on July 19.
The Sparta Prague captain used his Twitter handle to announce that he had quit the Warriors.
“Calling it a day at international level. Thank you God for the opportunity. Thank you Zimbabwe,” he wrote.
The tweet attracted several responses from Warriors fans, with a number expressing shock, while others pleaded with him to walk away only after the Afcon finals.
Others thanked Nhamoinesu for his time with the Warriors and the effort that he put in.
Mathew Rusike, who played with Nhamoinesu in the national team, paid tribute to the defender via Twitter.
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“Thank you for your service. Your leadership. Your guidance. Most of all, your patriotism,” he tweeted.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mupandare was as shocked as anybody by the bombshell and was by yesterday afternoon making frantic efforts to get in touch with the player.
“I think somebody must have misinformed him that he is not part of the squad that is going to the finals, because the timing of the move is quite surprising. I cannot say whether he was part of the squad or not, but what I can say is that he is one of many players that the coaches were considering as they draw up their squad,” he said.
“It seems he has already made his decision and it seems it’s final, but as a manager, I will try to speak with him. He never told us that he no longer wants to be considered for the national team. We also read it that he had quit.” The defender played a key part in the Warriors qualification to the 2017 Afcon finals that were staged in Gabon.
But since that tournament, he has not featured for the Warriors after he failed to make the trip back home for the first 2019 Afcon qualifier against Liberia in Harare due to injury.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza was in charge.
Nhamoinesu is reported to have fallen out of favour with the current technical team after he declined to travel by road to South Africa for the Cosafa Cup tournament last year.
The tournament was staged in Polokwane and Zifa decided that the team travels by bus, as opposed to flying to Johannesburg then making a road trip back to Polokwane.
Following his snub, Nhamoinesu has not been called up to the Warriors, but after qualifying for the finals, the technical team had a change of heart, considering the steely defender. Zimbabwe will face Egypt in the opening match of the tournament in June and will also face the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
A friendly match against the Super Eagles of Nigeria has already been confirmed, while there is also a possibility of playing Ghana or South Africa, or even both.