By Grace Chingoma
ZIFA are racing against time to finalise their COSAFA Cup squad amid challenges in securing local passports for their British Brigade, who have been drafted into the provisional squad.
It has emerged that the process, which is now being handled by the Sports Commission, is taking longer than anticipated.
The Warriors are expected to go into camp on Thursday.
Yesterday, the Sports Commission said they have since submitted the required letter for processing to the Registrar General’s Office following a request they got more than a week ago from ZIFA.
Seven players, who include Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa, Oldham Athletic Kundai Benyu and Bradford City’s Adam Chicksen, are among those seeking local passports.
The laws of the country now make it eligible for dual citizenship. Apart from the delays in processing the travel documents, Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare said all the other players who have been drafted into the squad have indicated they will report for duty when the training camp begins end of this week.
“All the players have indicated that they are all coming. By Thursday, we should have a clearer picture of who is coming or not, when the team goes into camp.
“So far Ronald Pfumbidzai has been ruled out after he got injured. Teenage Hadebe is also out,” he said. ZIFA will submit their provisional squad to COSAFA ahead of the initial deadline today.
Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa is eager to defend the COSAFA Cup after he guided the team to an historic fifth regional title in South Africa’s North West province last year.
Chidzambwa has named a strong side for the tournament, including some of his key players led by Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat, as he wants to use the tournament as part of his squad’s blending ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which resume in September.
Currently, the Warriors are on top of Group G following their resounding 3-0 victory over Liberia at the National Sports Stadium.
And skipper Musona, who has been drafted into the COSAFA squad, is also leading the CAF goal scoring charts with three goals.
Zimbabwe resume action with a tough date against plucky Congo Brazzaville early September followed by another cracking match against the DRC the following month.
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Donovan Bernard (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Chang Mariyoni (Triangle).
Defenders: Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kelvin Moyo (FC Platinum), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Jameson Mukombwe (FC Platinum), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Harare City), Costa Nhamoinesu (AC Sparta Prague), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Honest Moyo (Highlanders), Adam Chicksen (Bradford city)
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Andy Rinomhota (Reading), Kundai Benyu (Oldham Athletic), Abbas Amidu (Entag El Harby), Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars), Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Singida United), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge).
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (KV Oostende), Evans Rusike (Supersport United), Macauley Bonne (Leyton Orient), Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF), Kelly Lunga (Bonner SC), Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City). The Herald