BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
WARRIORS’ number one goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze has lost his place at his South African club Baroka in a development that could affect his international career.
Since featuring in the 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows on November 4, the former Chicken Inn goal minder has been restricted to the bench in the last four matches.
Before falling out of favour with the coaches, he had played six games since September 22 and conceded nine goals including four in the defeat to Super Sport United.
Chipezeze was picked to keep goal for the Warriors when they travelled to Algeria for the first match of the back-to-back 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifier after United States based goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, who kept goal at the 2017 African Cup of Nations finals in Gabon, failed to turn up due to COVID-19 restrictions.
He was blamed for one of the goals that the Warriors conceded in a 3-1 defeat in a match where he suffered an injury and was replaced by former Chapungu goalkeeper Talbert Shumba in the second half.
Shumba, who has since joined Zambian premier soccer league side Nkana FC, kept goal for the Warriors during the second leg of the match in Harare which ended in a 2-2 stalemate.
Chipezeze had a torrid time at the Africa Cup of Nations following his howler against Democratic Republic of Congo.
Despite the struggles the Warriors technical team chose to stick with him but the latest setback could see him losing his spot.
Should the struggles by Chipezeze continue into the new year, Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic could be forced to look elsewhere in his bid to qualify for the finals to be staged in Cameroon in June.
Mukuruva is tipped to return and reclaim the number one spot having been overlooked since the 2017 African Cup of Nations finals.
Algeria with 10 points have already booked a ticket to Cameroon while Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia will fight for the remaining slot in the group.
Zimbabwe, in second place in their group with five points have all the advantage as they have an away fixture against Botswana before taking on Zambia at home. Botswana are third on four points with Zambia at the foot of the table with only three points. With the top two teams qualifying for the tournament, the Warriors need a win in their next match against Botswana to be guaranteed a place at the tournament. Zimbabwe can, however, still afford to draw against Botswana and then beat Zambia in the final match to qualify.
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