By Ricky Zililo
MAMELODI Sundowns FC bound Cuthbert Malajila has bounced back into the Warriors set up after being named in the squad called-up for the World Cup qualifier against Egypt next weekend. Zimbabwe play host to Egypt in Harare on 9 June.
The former Chapungu, Highlanders and Dynamos striker who had a fine season at Maritzburg United in South Africa is one of the players that had earlier been overlooked by coach Klaus Dieter-Pagels
He is part of the 25-member squad made up of foreign based and local players expected to assemble at Zifa House on Monday evening after the weekend Premiership programme.
Malajila’s return is expected to bring lots of attacking options for the Warriors who lacked the edge in front of goal when they lost 1-2 to Egypt in the first leg which was played in March.
There was no place for Terrence Mandaza who has been partnering Malajila at Maritzburg and ABSA league championship winner with Kaizer Chiefs Willard Katsande who was a vital cog in Amakhosi reclaiming glory in South Africa.
Even Kaizer Chiefs’ Kingstone Nkatha also failed to make the grade. The Kaizer Chiefs duo of striker Matthew Rusike and defender Lincoln Zvasiya made it into the Warriors squad.
Other foreign based players that made it into the 25-member squad include Pretoria University’s Washington Arubi, Bidvest Wits benchwarmer Denver Mukamba, Archieford Gutu, Germany based Knowledge Musona, Ajax Cape Town’s talismanic midfielder Khama Billiat and Tafadzwa Rusike.
Roderick Mutuma of Bloemfontein Celtics is also a surprise inclusion as he is not commanding a regular place at his club in South Africa. The Harare giants Dynamos have four players – Patson Jaure, Ocean Mushure, Devon Chafa and goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi.
Harare City’s Maxwell Nyamupangedengu is the other goalkeeper in the team. Ronald Chitiyo of Monomotapa, Harare City’s Silas Songani, Highlanders’ Masimba Mambare and Felix Chindungwe of Chicken Inn are part of the squad.
National team manager Sharrif Mussa said the Warriors are expected in Harare on Monday and they will be in camp for two weeks.
“The coaches have called up 25 players and they are expected to be in camp on Monday evening so that the full programme starts on Tuesday. They will train throughout the week, play Egypt on Sunday then return to camp for the Guinea away match.
“In the event of injuries or if the coaches feel the need to drop other players then other faces will be called to camp,” said Mussa. He said Denmark based Quincy Antipas has been overlooked following a request from his club to work on his rehabilitation since the player is coming from Injury.
The Warriors need divine intervention to make it through as they anchor Group G with just a point from three matches. Group G is made up of log leaders Egypt with nine points, second placed Guinea on four points, Mozambique with two points and Zimbabwe.
Egypt look on course to advance to the next stage having beaten Guinea 2-1, dispatched Mozambique 3-1 and the Warriors 2-1 while Guinea, second in the group with four points they got after beating Zimbabwe 1-0 in Harare last year and a draw against Mozambique.
The Warriors will play for pride and hope to delay Egypt’s confirmation as Group G winners.
Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (Pretoria University, South Africa), Maxwell Nyamupangedengu (Harare City), Artwell Mukandi (Dynamos)
Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi (Caps United), Patson Jaure, Ocean Mushure, Devon Chafa (all Dynamos), Lincoln Zvasiya (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa), Felix Chindungwe (Chicken Inn), Nicholas Guyo
Midfielders: Denver Mukamba (Bidvest Wits, South Africa), Archiford Gutu (Kalmar FF, Sweden), Silas Songani (Harare City), Abbas Amidu (Black Leopards, South Africa), Khama Billiat (Ajax Cape Town, South Africa), Ronald Chitiyo (Monomotapa), Eric Chipeta (FC Platinum), Masimba Mambare (Highlanders), Tafadzwa Rusike (Ajax Cape Town), Ovidy Karuru (Belgium)
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (FC Augsburg, Germany), Cuthbert Malajila (Maritzburg, South Africa), Roderick Mutuma (Bloemfontein Celtics, South Africa), Simba Sithole (Supersport United, South Africa), Mathew Rusike (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa).