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Date: 23 November 2017

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Possible Warriors call-ups for the 2013 AFCON qualifiers

[Posted 06 Feb 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Possible Warriors call-ups for the 2013 AFCON qualifiers

Zimbabwe walked into the eye of a storm ahead of a crucial and must win 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Burundi away in Bujumbura on 29 February, when the country's FA suspended all players mentioned in the Asiagate scandal report.

While writing about the merits of the decision by ZIFA is certainly beyond the scope of this article, suffice it to say that the decision, at this stage, and given the manner the matter has been handled, does give serious challenges with respect to team rythym and preparedness ahead of a big match.

Warriors coach Norman Mapeza and assistant Joey Antipas are also suspended because tthey are fingered by the report and like the players, they too have to clear their names with the Ahmed Ebrahim led Ethics Committee. Questions are hanging as to who will be the interim coach and when will preparations begin.

Only ZIFA has answers to the questions above, and it is hoped that indeed they have answers.

But who is likely to play for the Warriors if 80 players have been suspended because of the untested allegations of match-fixing hovering over their heads?

About three quarters of the Warriors' players were fingered by the inadequate report and are out of reckoning for the Burundi tie. These include play-maker Ovidy Karuru, tear-away winger Khama Billiat, right-back Gilbert Mapemba, left-back Zhainu Jambo, central defenders Method Mwanjali, Daniel Veremu and Thomas Sweswe, midfield workhorse Willard Katsande, strikers Nyasha Mushekwi of Mamelodi Sundowns, Maritzburg United's new recruit Cuthbert Malajila and  Sudanese giants Al Hilal's Edward Sadomba and goalkeeper Washington Arubi.

Eleven out of a squad of 18 players who usually make a team are frozen for now.

Lets now consider those who are available.

Untouched by the match-fixing allegations out of the core of the regular Warriors are acting captain Tinashe Nengomasha, Hoffenheim striker Knowledge Musona, rightback Tapiwa Khumbuyani,  Germinal Beerschot's in-form midfielder Vusa Nyoni, Kalmar FF new recruit Archieford Gutu and South African club Amazulu goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini. There is also Kaizer Chiefs' Lincoln Zvasiya who has been knocking on the Warriors door. So about seven players remain eligible.

Who are the potential quality reinforcements who deserve a place in the squad ahead of the Burundi tie?

Well, it is a fact that Zimbabwe has quality players who could prove to play even better than the sidelined regulars. It is just a question of the time available to create winning combinations which is a problem at the moment.

Potential defenders

Carrington Nyadombo of Amazulu FC in South Africa's topflight. The big defender has been probably the best central defender in the South African ABSA Premiership durin the first half of the 2011/2012 season. It is a big surprise that Mapeza never considered him for the national team call-ups. He is sharp in the air, tough on the ground and has an excellent reading of the game

Dickson Choto of Legia Warsaw, a team that is currently playing in the Europa League has recovered just on time and is an experienced defender who could be an important player for the Warriors even in the World Cup qualifying matches. A Nyadombo/Choto combination is a mouth-watering one given their imposing statures and combined ability to play the ball and initiate build-ups from the back.

Lincoln Zvasiya will want to grab the opportunity and stake a starting berth claim in the absence of club-mates Sweswe and Jambo. 

Cyprus-based Noel Kaseke will also raise his hand up for the right back slot in the team. The versatile Omonia Nicosia player can play in midfield and defence, and he is a very experienced player to call upon at this stage.

Potential Midfielders

Nengomasha will defeintely need a partner in central midfield. In the absence of Willard Katsande, there are a few options. Ramson Zhuwawo of Amazulu in South Africa is a good option. Then there is little known Bradley Pritchard of Charlton Athletic, registered by his club using a Zimbabwean passport and has been actively involved in Charlton's charge towards promotion back to the Championship and eventually the English premiership. Pritchard could play a huge part in Zimbabwe's AFCON campaign if selected.

Archieford Gutu who has been a bit-part player for the Warriors may eventually get the recognition his talent and abilities deserve either on the right/ left channels or even central midfield.

Denver Mukamba is another option on the wings and he has already been called to the senior national team a few times in the recent past. And then ofcourse, there is new Kaizer Chiefs man Brian Abbas Amidu, who has the ability to play on either flank.

New CAPS United midfielder Conrad Witby can also make a case for himself in the midfield department of the Warriors. The midfielder has quality and if given time he could become an established member of the Warriors.

Potential strikers

This is one department where the Warriors are certainly not short of quality material. Many established names spring to mind. Mike Temwanjira is a potential partner to Musona upfront. He is big, is a team player and even if he may not score many goals for the Warriors, he will assist the likes of Musona, and attacking midfielders like Gutu, Amidu or Mukamba to score goals. Temwanjira has loads of international football experience, having participated with FC Vaslui of Romania in the UEFA Europa League this season.

Another option is ofcourse Russia-based Musa Mguni. Blessed with height and a kneck for scoring crucial goals, the Terek Grozny man is an experienced player at international level. He has played in the UEFA Champions League with Omonia Nicosia before and that experience will be crucial to the cause of the Warriors in Africa.

On the local front, there is young Dynamos striker Roderick Mutuma, Golden Boot winner in the Castle Lager premiership in Zimbabwe last season. The tall and slender forward is a team player who has grown into a full man of topflight football with Dynamos. Maybe Mutuma's time to show Zimbabwe what he can bring to the table has come. 

Another remote option for the forward slot in the national team is very talented but frustrated Platinum Stars striker Terrence Mandaza. Terror has failed to live up to his reputation of a terrific goal getter which he brought with him to South African football from Botswana. At Platinum Terror has shown glimpses of his old-self but remains frustrated, being restricted to the bench most of the times because of the defensive approach preferred by his coach Owen da Gama. With good mentoring Mandaza is that kind of a partner that Musona can ever dream of. He is strong, gifted with pace, has good dribbling skills, and an eye for goal. 


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