BY HENRY MHARA
UNITED Kingdom based Warriors stars including Marvelous Nakamba might fail to travel to Zimbabwe for next month’s two World Cup qualifiers as the UK continue to enforce Covid-19 quarantine restrictions on returning travellers from countries on their red list zones.
The Aston Villa midfielder is expected to lead a cast of at least five Warriors stars who plies their trade in England for the matches against South Africa in Harare on September 3 and Ethiopia four days later.
Other players who are expected to travel from England are Tendayi Darikwa of Wigan Athletic, Jordan Zemura of Bournemouth and Ipswich’s Admiral Muskwe.
Plymouth Argyle defender Brendan Galloway is also expected to receive his first Warriors call-up when Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušić announces his squad this week.
However, the quartet’s availability for the two crunch matches has been thrown into doubt after reports suggest the European Club Association had failed to get exemptions from the mandatory quarantine rules for players returning from red list countries.
Striker David Moyo is based in Scotland and is also set to be affected.
Zimbabwe is on the UK’s red zone meaning Nakamba and co would have to face a 10-day quarantine in a hotel upon their return to England, a situation that many clubs have said are not comfortable with.
Liverpool yesterday set the precedence when they announced that they will block Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Fabinho and Alisson from playing for Egypt and Brazil next week due to concerns over Covid-19 and quarantine rules.
Egypt and Brazil are also on the UK’s red travel list.
Other clubs are also expected to follow on Liverpool’s lead in blocking the release of their players for international duty unless exemptions are introduced.
Media reports from England yesterday suggested that the Premier League and Football Association officials have been in talks with their government over the quarantine restrictions, which have affected many sports and threatens to disrupt several rounds of international fixtures.
The reports, however, shows that the exemptions were unlikely to be granted. As of the weekend, there had still been no resolution to the dispute between the government and the clubs.
British & Irish Lions players were denied quarantine exemptions when they returned from their South Africa tour earlier this month.
It comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that FIFA have scrapped their temporary rule that allowed clubs to refuse to release players for international duty who faced more than five days quarantine.
The news will come as a huge blow to the Warriors technical department led by Loga. The Croat is expected to announce his squad on Wednesday, and this development will force him to alter his list.
Other European based players expected to be named in the Warriors and who could be affected
Nakamba and most of the other European based Warriors stars were also blocked by their clubs from travelling to Zimbabwe for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia in March.
Only Knowledge Musona and goalkeeper Martin Mapisa, who play for lower division side in Spain, were the only European based stars who managed to travel for the two matches.
France based duo of Tino Kadewere and Marshal Munetsi also missed the two Afcon qualifiers after the French’s Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) set out tough conditions for foreign players from travelling on international duty outside of the European Union.
One of the conditions was that football federations who want to invite players for international duty have to provide a private jet for the stars for the trip back to France.