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Date: 22 April 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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News Headlines

Foreign-based players' absent, still strong U'23 squad named

[Posted 28 Dec 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Unfortunate for Zimbabwe, Musona will not be available for their tie against Zambia in January

Despite Under 23 coach Friday Phiri's failure to secure the services of six-foreign-based players, a strong squad was named and is expected to get into camp in preparation for the All Africa preliminary qualifier against Zambia set for early January.

ZIFA failed to secure the services of Knowledge Musona of Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, Khama Billiart, Tafadzwa Rusike (Ajax Cape Town), Matthew Rusike ( Jomo Cosmos, SA), Darryl Nyandoro of TP Mazembe in the DRC and French Ligue 2 side Bolougne's Ovidy Karuru.

The leagues of the six players will resume shortly after the festive break, and will coincide with the qualifier against Zambia in Lusaka on the weekend of 7-9 January.

Unfortuntely for participating teams of the All Africa games, the qualifiers do not fall on FIFA-sanctioned dates and nations can not therefore force clubs to release players against their wishes.

Zimbabwe will have to make do with local players, and the nation is more than capable of raising a strong squad despite the absence of the more experienced foreign-based stars. 

The Young Warriors squad named to face Zambia includes stars of the Under 20 team which lost 0-1 to Zambia in the semi-finals of the Metropolitan/COSAFA Under 20 Championships in Botswana recently.

Star attacking midfielder Denver Mukamba leads a good number of his talented colleagues into the Under 23 team.

Other players with premiership experience and former Under 20 stars in the squad include the likes of former Ajax Cape Town star Archieford Gutu,now with Dynamos in Harare, Brian Mapfumo of Monomotapa, Khumbulani Banda of Dynamos, Qadr Amin of former champions Gunners and Tapiwa Mangezi of Gunners and Tshepo Rathlokwane of high-flyers Eagles. 

With proper preparations, there is no good reason why such a squad should not qualify ahead of Zambia, or any other team which will stand in its way. The only challenge is that Zambian teams have been Zimbabwe's bogey sides at all levels.

An interesting school of thought advocates that coach Friday Phiri should forget about the likes of Musona, Billiart, Rusikes, and Karuru who are now part of the senior national team, and focus at unearthing future Warriors.

The same argument could be made about the CHAN squad. It can be argued that the CHAN competition is a good platform to give young and upcoming players a chance to prove that they deserve a chance in the senior national team.


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