By Kevin Mapasure
ENGLISH Premier League side Leicester City hotshot Tawanda Maswanhise is having doubts about committing to play for Zimbabwe at the moment after Zifa made moves to lure the 18-year-old ahead of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers next month.
Maswanhise is one of a number of players based in the United Kingdom that the Warriors technical team led by coach Zdravko Logarušic is offering a call-up, but the speedy winger’s chances of committing are as yet slim.
Zifa officials have been negotiating with the player’s handlers, but his father Jeffrey, who represented Zimbabwe in athletics, is seemingly reluctant to allow his son to get tied down to his country of birth.
Maswanhise left Zimbabwe when he was only two years old when his family relocated to the United Kingdom and he later joined the Leicester City Academy where he grew through the ranks.
Zifa is planning to harness all the talent that is available and Maswanhise is one of the main targets, but the latter is likely to snub the Warriors.
Defender Brendon Galloway and Wycombe striker Admiral Muskwe are some of the players that will come in from England for the matches against South Africa and Ethiopia.
An official who is privy to the negotiations whispered to NewsDaySport that hope of bringing Maswanhise in for the matches next month are very slim.
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“We are talking, we are negotiating but to be honest the chances are not looking bright. The player might be interested in playing for our national team, but he is still young and under the guidance of his parents. So if he is to play for Zimbabwe, we need to convince the father, but so far he hasn’t given us hope. It seems there are few issues that he is worried about, but we will keep trying. Tawanda is a very good player, one who would add value to our team,” said the official.
The player, who has enjoyed a good pre-season run with Leicester City’s senior team, in a recent interview indicated that he could be thinking about playing for the Warriors.
“I’m getting quite a lot of love over there (in Zimbabwe) because my dad obviously used to be a former sprinter for Zimbabwe and obviously he’s got a lot of friends and family and fans over there. They are showing a lot of love,” he told the club’s official website.
His manager Brendan Rodgers is pleased with his talent and the progress that he has made playing at the juniors.
He hinted that he will spend the new season with the Under-23s.
“I watched him closely over the past year or so with the 18s, and he has potential but with still a lot of improvements to make,” Rodgers said.
“He trained with us at the end of last season and I liked what I saw and he’s been with us in pre-season so far. He has lots of areas of his game he can improve but I wanted to give him a taste of it, being around the first team.
“He’s not quite ready yet but he has talent and potential and we’ll see if we can nurture that. He has to continue to improve as well.
“The plan for him at this moment in time is that he is around the first team training, he’ll play with the 23s, and then we’ll take it from there.”
The 18-year-old, who received his first taste of the senior team set-up when he was named on the bench for the win at Manchester United in May, is enjoying his experience with the first team.
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