By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Warriors’ foreign contingent for their next Total African Cup of Nations Group G qualifier against Liberia are expected to fly straight to Monrovia from their respective bases three days before the encounter.
A 21-member squad was named on Monday by coach Sunday Chidzambwa for the November 18 clash.
Only four locally-based players, Dynamos’ goalkeeper Simbarashe Chinani, FC Platinum defender Kevin Moyo and his midfield teammate Rodwell Chinyengetere and Yadah’s Byron Madzokere made it into the provisional squad.
“The foreign legion will fly straight to Liberia from their respective basis. We expect to be in Monrovia on November 15,” said Warriors’ manager Wellington Mpandare.
The three days are expected to give Zimbabwe time to acclimatise to the expected humid conditions and be mentally prepared for the crucial battle against Liberia, who are expected to be cheered on by their first citizen President George Weah.
Set to make a return to national team colours is former skipper Willard Katsande, who announced his retirement from international football after a disastrous showing by the Warriors at the Afcon finals last year where they failed to win a single match.
Bracing for a bruising battle, the technical team picked the Kaizer Chiefs midfield enforcer in place of workhorse Danny ‘Deco’ Phiri, who is on a four-week injury lay off.
“His club said he needs four weeks to completely heal,” said Mpandare.
The Golden Arrows and former Chicken Inn midfielder picked up a knee injury moments before the home tie against DR Congo at the National Sports Stadium last month.
Chidzambwa’s men lead the group by three points and with two teams going through to the finals, only a huge misfortune will see them not qualifying. After the Liberian encounter, they will play host to Congo Brazzaville in March 2019 in their last match of the campaign.
A Cameroon appearance will be Zimbabwe’s fourth Nations Cup dance, having debuted in 2004 followed by other qualifications in 2006 and 2017.
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)
Defenders: Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates)
Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Talent Chawapihwa (Baroka), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Rodwell Chinyengetere (FC Platinum)
Strikers: Evans Rusike (SuperSport United), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits) The Chronicle