By Kevin Mapasure
BAFANA Bafana coach Hugo Broos says he sympathises with Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušic whose plans for the two nations’ blockbuster clash in a Group G World Cup qualifier were thrown into disarray after key players were blocked from travelling to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe will be without seven regulars, including midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba; defenders Brendon Galloway, Jordan Zemura and Tendai Darikwa as well as strikers Macauley Bonne, David Moyo and Admiral Muskwe, when the two sides clash in Harare on Friday.
United States-based Teenage Hadebe was also barred and desperate Logarušic had to summon locally-based players who have not played football for close to two months as replacements.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mupandare yesterday said Knox Mutizwa and Butholezwe Ncube have also been ruled out.
“They (Mutizwa and Ncube) have health issues so automatically they are out,” he said without elaborating.
Mupandare also said they were still awaiting response from English Premier League club Aston Villa over Nakamba’s fate.
Zifa had requested Villa to allow Nakamba to travel to Harare for the World Cup qualifiers.
Broos has no such problem, but sympathises with his Zimbabwean counterpart although he said he understands why clubs had to block their players.
South Africa did not name any players based in the United Kingdom, which placed Zimbabwe on the COVID-19 red list.
Players travelling to the UK from red- listed countries will be forced to quarantine for 10 days on return, thus missing two rounds of matches for their respective clubs.
“I am very happy that he (Percy Tau) now plays in Egypt, that is for sure,” a visibly delighted Broos said with a chuckle.
“But okay, this could be a problem when I look at the players of my colleague in Zimbabwe (Logarušic). Maybe they will miss four or five players because the English teams do not want to release their players.
“I understand what the teams want because if you (allow) your players to go, (they will miss 10 days) and when he comes back, there are more days in quarantine. So this is not something to be happy about, but I understand it.
“But on the other hand, I understand the clubs also. I am happy that we do have a player with such challenges in Bafana and he (Tau) is now playing in Egypt and we do not have problems. If you miss a player like him (Tau), it is not a nice thing for a coach.”
South Africa drew most of their squad members from their domestic league with Sundowns providing the bulk of the players. They also have a couple of players from the Danish topflight league.
Bafana Bafana are expected in the country today ahead of the big match. They named a relatively young side, while Zimbabwe will be banking on the experience of veterans such as captain Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat.
Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (Supersport), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs)
Defenders: Sydney Mobbie (Sundowns), Rushine De Reuck (Sundowns), Thapelo Morena (Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Thibang Phete (Belenenses), Thabani Dube (Kaizer Chiefs), Sibusiso Mabiliso (Kaizer Chiefs)
Midfielders: Sipho Mbude (Supersport), Teboho Mokoena (Supersport), Mothobi Mvala (Sundowns), Yusuf Maart (Sekhukhune), Ethan Brooks (TX Galaxy), Njabulo Blom (Kaizer Chiefs)
Strickers: Thabiso Kutumela (Sundowns), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Maritzburg), Gift Links (Aarhus), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka), Victor Letsoalo (Bloemfontein Celtic), Percy Tau (Al Ahly), Luther Singh (FC Copenhagen)
Follow Kevin on Twitter@kevinmapasure