Madinda Ndlovu Brews a Warriors Shocker
By Petros Kausiyo
MADINDA NDLOVU brewed a shocker last night by naming a 30-man Warriors squad for the 2011 African Championship of Nations finals pregnant with surprise inclusions and stunning omissions expected to report for camp in Harare on January 9.
Madinda, who now looks set to continue as Warriors caretaker coach for the Chan finals to be held in Sudan, axed a number of regulars, who have been performing brilliantly in the domestic Premiership, and brought in some surprise faces.
One of them is an unheralded defender, who plays for Division One side Ziscosteel, who finds himself in the squad while CAPS United skipper Nyasha Mukumbi and consistent Dynamos centreback George Magariro have been ignored.
The announcement of the 30-man squad is set to torch just as much controversy as Madinda ‘s appointment as Warriors caretaker coach, which continues to be resisted by a number of fans, judging by comments in this newspapers feedback column.
Madinda was thrust in sole charge of the Warriors following the resignation of Norman Mapeza and presided over the senior teams 3-0 win over Mozambique in an international friendly in Maputo last month. With no substantive coach in place for the Warriors, Madinda appears to have been given a further mandate to take charge of the national team and prepare them for the Chan tournament.
Zimbabwe are making their second successive appearance, in as many Chan competitions, having made their debut in the inaugural tournament in Cote dvoire last year. Last night, Madinda with the help of Gunners mentor and national Under-23 assistant coach Darlington Dodo named a 30-man squad which will kick-start the Warriors preparations for the Chan tournament.
The 16-team finals will run from February 4-24. Warriors manager Chris Chitindi, in releasing the Chan squad last night, said they wanted the players to report for camp in Harare on January 9. Zifa are still hoping that they could arrange an international friendly match or two for the Warriors before they leave for Sudan.
But Ndlovu’s selection of the squad will certainly raise some eyebrows with the Black Mambas technical advisor making a shock decision to leave some of the experienced and consistent players from the domestic Premiership. Big CAPS United goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, good enough to be first choice in all the qualifying rounds of the Chan tournament, was the biggest casualty of the Ndlovu era when he was overlooked for selection.
Ndlovu named four goalkeepers Washington Arubi, Tafadzwa Dube, Hwange’s Timothy Sibanda and Ariel Sibanda of Highlanders in the squad with three of them expected to make the final team for Sudan. But somehow the former Highlanders coach is convinced the CAPS United goalminder is not good enough to be among the country’s elite goalkeepers.
There was also a surprise exclusion of Dynamos centreback George Magariro despite the lanky defender having had a brilliant season in the heart of the Premiership runners-ups rearguard. Kiglon striker Martin Vengesai, who had a decent season for the Chitungwiza outfit, Daniel Kamunenga of Monomotapa, CAPS Uniteds Pride Tafirenyika and DeMbare newboy Archieford Gutu were also among the surprise exclusions.
Instead Ndlovu opted for Shooting Stars Tofirei Sambo, unheralded Ziscosteel defender Munyaradzi Mungadzi, Black Mambas midfielder Isaac Madziva and Highlanders forward Francis Kanda among his array of new caps. There will be suspicion, too, on the inclusion of Mungadzi as it is not clear whether he was the best performing defender in the Central Region Division One where Ziscosteel did not feature in the battle for Premiership promotion that pitted Chapungu and eventual winners Mimosa Mine.
How Madinda also traced the exploits of Mungadzi to the extent of being convinced that he could play for the Warriors, in a season where he spent his time in the Premiership, will also need to be explained. Mungadzi finds his place in the Warriors ahead of such experienced defenders as CAPS United skipper Mukumbi. Despite fighting relegation and surviving on the final day of the season, Black Mambas provide three players to the Warriors.
Questions will inevitably be asked on whether this has not been influenced by Ndlovu’s links with the police outfit for which he had more time to watch when compared to the rest of the Premiership sides. Gunners hitman and Premiership Golden Boot award winner Norman Maroto looks set to lead the attack that however, looks very lightweight with Monoz forward Tawanda Nyamandwe, the only other striker with a Warriors cap.
The others are national Under-20 skipper and Wild Boys striker Simba Sithole and Motor Action chief striker Charles Sibanda. Ndlovu, however, retained the Dynamos pair of defender Guthrie Zhokinyi and forward Benjamin Marere, CAPS United right back Gilbert Mapemba, Gunners left back Qadr Amin, Mighty Bulls midfielder Bhekimpilo Ncube, who took part in the Chan qualifiers.
W. Arubi (Dynamos), T. Dube (Gunners), T. Sibanda (Hwange) A. Sibanda (Highlanders)
D. Kanye (CAPS United), G. Zhokinyi (Dynamos), D. Veremu (Gunners), B. Nyahunzvi (Black Mambas), D. Boriwondo (Hwange), G. Mapemba (CAPS United), Z. Ngodzo (Highlanders), Q. Amin (Gunners), M. Mungadzi (Ziscosteel), A. Chivheya (Lengthens)
C. Chiutsa (Monomotapa), E. Mudzingwa (Highlanders), A. Amidu (Black Mambas), B. Ncube (Motor Action), I. Madziva (Black Mambas), B. Marere (Dynamos), J. Ngodzo (Highlanders), D. Mukamba (Kiglon), T. Sambo (Shooting Stars), A. Gahadzikwa (Motor Action), E. Meleka (Gunners)
N. Maroto (Gunners), C. Sibanda (Motor Action), F. Kanda (Highlanders), S. Sithole (Shooting Stars).