Loga omits star duo

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RALPH Kawondera was a surprise omission from the 28-man provisional squad for the 2020 African Nations Championships (Chan) finals announced by Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušić yesterday.

BY HENRY MHARA

The FC Platinum midfielder was one of the stand-out performers in the local league last year, and was voted the second best player behind Soccer Star of the Year, Joel Ngodzo.

Kawondera, who was with Triangle last term before making a big move to the league champions in December, scored 11 goals to finish as the league’s third top goalscorer.

Finishing third in the race for the golden boot award was a huge achievement for a player who played much of the season as a defensive midfielder.

He is the only player from the 2019 Soccer Star of the Year finalists still eligible to play in the Chan championships who was left out.

Another omission of note was Leeroy Mavunga , a player who has been a regular feature in the Warriors set-up in recent years.

The winger, who recently joined Caps United from Yadah, also played a part in the team’s Chan qualification last year, and many had expected him to be part of the team that will travel to the finals.

He also featured for the Warriors at the Cosafa senior men championships last year, and won the Man of the Match award in the team’s semi-final match.

The surprise inclusion on the list is that of Cranborne Bullets player Kelvin Chibunyu.

The midfielder could have been rewarded for helping his team to league promotion last year, a feat that also saw him voted the Zifa Northern Region Soccer Star of the Year at an award ceremony on Friday last week.

Logarušić attended the award ceremony, where Chibunyu was rewarded with a brand new Nissan Tiida.
FC Platinum newboy, Stanley Ngala, and Caps United’s Ishmael Wadi received their first Warriors call-ups.

A former Manica Diamonds striker, Ngala could have been rewarded for his stellar show in the Caf Champions League with FC Platinum.

The rest of the picks by the Croat were rather predictable.

Defender Partson Jaure is set to captain the team, which also saw the return of midfielders Devon Chafa and Moses Muchenje back into the Warriors fold.

Goalkeeper Simba Chinani, currently in Russia on trials, has been included in the squad and is expected to form the backbone of the team, together with Jaure, Peter Muduwa, Ian Nekati, Chafa, Phineas Bhamusi, King Nadolo, Wellington Taderera and striker Prince Dube.

Speaking at the award ceremony last week, Logarušić who has not watched any local player in action, said his assistants Lloyd Chitembwe, who coaches Harare City and Tonderai Ndiraya of Dynamos, were responsible for putting the squad together after input from other Premier Soccer League coaches.

Logarušić said he also enquired from other local coaches before coming up with the training squad.
“I spoke with former coaches and those who are there now and others I met. Each of them gave me a list of 24 players. Then when I put together all of them, I picked around 20 players who were featuring on the lists submitted,” he said.

“Each coach put two players for each position so it’s the input of the coaches. When a name features in all the coaches lists, that means that player is good. That’s how I did it for this selection.”

The 28-man squad is expected to begin a 10-day training camp on Sunday before breaking to pave way for preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria.

The squad will be trimmed to 23 players who will travel to the Chan finals set to run from April 4 to 25 in Cameroon.

Zimbabwe is in group A with the hosts Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso.

The Warriors will play in the opening match against Cameroon before facing Burkina Faso four days later.

They will conclude their group match against Mali on April 12, with the top two teams in the group qualifying to the quarterfinals.

Warriors provisional squad

Goalkeepers: Simbarashe Chinani, Ariel Sibanda, Nelson Chadya, Talbert Shumba
Defenders: Xolani Ndlovu, Qadr Amini, Frank Makarati, Partson Jaure, Peter Muduwa, Liberty Chakoroma, Ian Nekati, Rapheal Muduviwa

Midfielders: Malon Mushonga, Moses Muchenje, Devon Chafa, Trevor Mavhunga, Kelvin Madzongwe, Phenias Bamusi, Juan Mutudza, King Nadolo, Wellington Taderera, Ishmael Wadi, Valentine Kadonzvo, William Manondo, Kelvin Chibunyu

Strikers: Prince Dube, Obriel Chirinda, Stanley Ngala