BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA Warriors coach Norman Mapeza has received a major boost ahead of the back-to-back 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Ghana with reports suggesting Dynamo Houston has finally agreed to release defender Teenage Hadebe.
Dynamo Houston refused to co-operate with Zifa last time for the release of the player for the home clash against South Africa and Ethiopia citing COVID-19 travel restrictions. The club had also suffered a depressing run of defeats and with Hadebe being their star player, the club hierarchy refused to release him for international duty.
The development plunged the Warriors into a defensive crisis as then coach Zdravko Logarušic was forced to make do with a makeshift defence, especially after UK-based players including defender Tendai Darikwa and midfielder Marvelous Nakamba among others were barred from travelling to Zimbabwe.
However, general manager national teams Wellington Mupandare said this time around Dynamo Houston had been very co-operative and had agreed to release Hadebe for national duty.
“From the communication we have had with Dynamo Houston over the release of Hadebe, they have been very co-operative this time around. They have agreed to release him so he should be part of the squad for the two matches,” he said yesterday.
Mupandare, however, said it was still unclear whether the United Kingdom-based players would be allowed to travel to Harare for the second leg against Ghana. While the UK government has no problems with players travelling to Ghana as the country is not on the red list zone, they are concerned about them travelling to Zimbabwe which remains on their red list zone. They require such athletes to quarantine for at least 10 days in a hotel upon return and clubs are reluctant to release them for the clash in Harare.
Besides Nakamba and Darikwa, Mapeza has called up Jordan Zemura and Brendon Galloway for the two matches.
The Warriors are at the bottom of the group with just one point while South Africa lead with four points with Ethiopia in second place and Ghana in third position on the standings
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