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Warriors lose key players

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BY Kevin Mapasure

Zimbabwe’s bid to assemble its best squad for the Fifa World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia next week suffered a major blow after the British government turned down Fifa’s request for players travelling to COVID-19 red-listed countries to be exempt from 10-day quarantine upon return.

The Warriors will be without Marvelous Nakamba who plays in the Premier League for Aston Villa as well as Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth), Brendon Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Macauley Bonne (Ipswich), Tendai Darikwa (Wigan) and Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town) all in the lower divisions of English football.

David Moyo, who plies his trade in Scotland, could also be barred from travelling.

If the players were to quarantine for 10 days, they would miss two weeks for their clubs and thus Premier League and EFL clubs have resolved to bar their players from travelling.

Yesterday Reuters reported that the Confederation of African Football (Caf) had written to the British government appealing for exemption of African players hoping to represent their countries in the qualifiers.

“Caf, on behalf of all African member associations, African players and fans, has urged the British government to urgently provide the required exemptions to enable African players to compete for their countries in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers,” Caf said in a statement.

“Caf notes that similar exemptions were granted by the British government to enable the attendance of delegations and officials, among others, at the finals of the European Championship held less than two months ago.

“It is further noted that the circumstances in the African countries on the red list in many cases are in fact less severe than other countries not currently on this list or for which exemptions were previously provided.”

There are 25 African countries on the “red list”.

Caf said all next month’s World Cup qualifiers in Africa, which will be played from September 1 to 7, would be under strict health conditions.

“The upcoming matches will be delivered under the strict protocols developed by Fifa and applied across the world, as was the case in previous windows and continental tournaments successfully delivered without any incidents.

“These protocols have now proven beyond a doubt that they mitigate the risks involved, reflecting the success of commensurate protocols applied domestically in England and other parts of the world.

“In light of the above, Caf has appealed as a matter of urgency, to the Football Association (FA) and the British government that the same treatment previously applied to Europe now be extended to Africa under the principles of solidarity and equal treatment,” the statement added.

This came after Fifa president Gianni Infantino had written to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lobbying for the quarantine waiver.

Sky Sports News reported yesterday that the British government would not give any exemption, adding that the decision was in the interest of public health.

Warriors manager Wellington Mupandare yesterday said that they were waiting to see how Fifa would act since the world governing body had encouraged them to call up all the players that they require for the match.

“We are just waiting to see how things develop, it’s not looking good at the moment, but let’s see how Fifa will proceed,” he said.

“If we cannot get the players in the UK, then we would have to look at plan B and consider other players playing elsewhere.”

Warriors squad

Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars), Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF)

Defenders: Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Divine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Jimmy Dzingai (Unattached), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi)

Midfielders: Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune United), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV), Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Tafadzwa Rusike, Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Perfect Chikwende (Simba SC), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu), Ovidy Karuru (Unattached)

Strikers: Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates), Tinotenda Kadewere (Lyon), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Knowledge Musona (Al-Tai), Macauley Bonne (Ipswich Town)

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinmapasure

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