By Godknows Matarutse
With the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) fast approaching, the availability of Colchester United forward Macauley Bonne and Burnley defender Tendayi Darikwa is in doubt owing to citizenship issues.
Darikwa and Bonne, who are holders of British passports, are yet to regularise their papers with less than 10 days before the team starts preparations for tournament set to be held in Gabon next month, despite relentless efforts from the association to assist them.
Warriors team manager Shariff Mussa yesterday told the Daily News that the duo is on the provisional squad but it appears they are reluctant to come and sort out their papers to enable them represent the country.
“This is the area where they are supposed to be telling us about progress in regularising their documents. They have always been selected but however they are not sorting out their documents and we don’t sort out individual papers,” Mussa said.
“Those called in must always be ready with their papers. If called for the national duty players must have their papers regularised and be ready to play.
“I personally called them and explained to them that you cannot play for Zimbabwe with a foreign passport. I also advised them that they needed to come here and sort out their papers and they can’t remote control the process.
“I told them they need to come and get recommendations from Zifa, the Sports ministry and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) for processing but they are still reluctant, I don’t know why. It seems they are not willing to come here.
“The coaches have been saying they are very keen for them to play but it’s now difficult. They have been included in the provisional squad and from the look of things it seems we are racing against time to have them available.
“The squad should be announced anytime and I am not sure if it will be wise to still involve them when we all know their papers are not in place.”
Bonne has previously represented the country when he featured for the Young Warriors in a friendly match against a full-strength Morocco two years ago.
Zimbabwe is pooled alongside continental powerhouses Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia. Zifa has secured friendly matches against Ivory Coast on Boxing Day and Cameroon on January 10.
The country’s football governing body has also earmarked a run with Egypt before the 2017 Gabon but no confirmation has been given yet.
The side’s build up is expected to shift into a higher gear next month as they are set to camp in Yaounde, Cameroon in a bid to acclimatise to the humid conditions of neighboring Gabon. Daily News