By Grace Chingoma
Warriors talismanic forward Knowledge Musona says he was surprised to be handed the leadership of the team after he was named the new senior national football team captain by caretaker coach Norman Mapeza.
The KV Oostende forward was yesterday appointed Mapeza’s leader for the 2019 Afcon qualifier against Liberia at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
He replaces Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande who guided the team to their third Nations Cup finals appearance in Gabon in January but was not considered for this assignment.
Ngezi Platinum defender Partson Jaure, who has found his touch again after a nightmarish spell in South Africa, will be the deputy captain which probably suggests he will make the first XI on Sunday.
Speaking after the afternoon training session at their training base at the Yadah Hotel Complex in Waterfalls, Musona said he was humbled by to be handed such an honour.
“It is an honour to represent your country. It was rather a surprise for me, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said.
“But this is part of football.
“Football is not only played in the field of play but comes up with extra responsibilities.”
The captaincy position is not an entirely new territory to the former Aces Academy man as he also captained the national Under-17 team.
He was also once a skipper during his school days when he was still in academy.
“It is not like I will be leading alone,” said Musona.
“It is not an individual thing to lead the national team but everyone is a leader and it is more about teamwork than anything else.”
The former Kaizer Chiefs hitman said what was important was to deliver for the country and a victory on Sunday will make it worthwhile.
“It would something else leading the team to qualify again but we know it is not that simple, it’s a process and we would like to take each game as it comes and see what happens after the last game,” said Musona.
Mapeza said it was easy to settle for Musona as he has always been consistent and disciplined.
Crucially, said Mapeza, the forward has shown his love for his country.
“Knowledge is now the captain assisted by Partson Jaure, just to balance the equation of foreign-based versus local-based players,” said Mapeza.
“I think Knowledge has shown massive commitment to the national team.
“’He is a good role model to the upcoming stars. I think he has also shown that he is someone very disciplined.”
The Warriors stepped up their preparations with the coach having most of his men at his disposal.
The only absentees were SuperSport United defender Onismor Bhasera, who was scheduled to fly in last evening from South Africa, to join his team mates and Mamelodi Sundowns forward Khama Billiat.
Billiat is expected home this morning in the company of his team manager Peter Ndlovu for an assessment by the Warriors medical team.
Our Harare Bureau understands that Billiat was even in camp for the Sundowns’ Champions League match against Esperance only for coach Pitso Mosimane to decide against using him at the last-minute.
This has given hope that Billiat would probably be good enough, to play even a cameo role for the Warriors, on Sunday.
But Sundowns don’t want their star player to be risked, especially after their loss at the hands of Esperance.
Dynamos defender Lincolin Zvasiya missed yesterday’s workout following a tooth extraction.
“Khama is reporting for camp tomorrow (today). He was supposed to come today (yesterday), so we are still waiting for him then we can be able to assess him,” said Mapeza.
The FC Platinum coach said everything is on course ahead of the Sunday’s match against Liberia.
“So far so good. I am happy the guys are showing a lot of commitment.
“We had some physical training to see how the guys are responding and they have shown some good levels of fitness,” he said.
“We cannot talk of any other result expect for a victory. That’s what we are expecting and also people would be waiting for such a result against Liberia.”
Ironically, the former Warriors skipper will begin his latest dance with the Warriors with a clash against the Lone Star, who were the same opponents in his previous spell in charge of the team.
“We don’t know much about them, you know with African football it is always tricky, you have to always put 100 percent. We just have to be mentally and physically ready.
“Away teams usually play for a point but we will work as a team to get the result we want.
“Anthony (Laffor) is a good, quality player, we know what he can do when he is possession. But I am sure that the way we are talking about him is the same way they are talking about our players such as Knowledge,” he said. The Chronicle