By Fungai Muderere
The new Warriors technical team will be told not to select big goalkeeper George Chigova and China-based Nyasha Mushekwi among other players for future Warriors assignments, B-Metro Sport has learnt.
The imposing duo together with Warriors midfield talisman Khama Billiat are reportedly among seven players that the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is considering “punishing” for allegedly causing discord in the senior national team camp during the 2019 Afcon finals.
“George Chigova and Nyasha Mushekwi are among the seven players that Zifa will instruct the new Warriors technical team not to call up for the upcoming Warriors assignments. The feeling is that they were very much instrumental in causing chaos in the Warriors camp during the 2019 Afcon finals. While the players communicated everything through their captains, it was felt there were some ring leaders who never thought of putting the interests of the country first. Some seemed not to be really committed to the Warriors cause,” said a well-placed source within the Zifa corridors.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela argued otherwise.
“We have a new technical team and at the moment we cannot dwell much on their set targets. Zifa values the independence of coaches. The association has and will never interfere on team selection,” said Gwesela.
Mushekwi has not officially retired from international football but indications are that he has been contemplating on hanging up his boots for the national colours.
On Tuesday, Zifa unveiled Joey Antipas as the caretaker coach of the Warriors with the Chicken Inn gaffer set to take charge of the team for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Somalia.
Antipas will remain in charge of the Warriors until December 31 this year and will be assisted by Zimbabwe Under-23 coach Tonderai Ndiraya and new Harare City gaffer Lloyd Chitembwe.
Tembo Chuma is the new goalkeepers’ coach while Wellington Mpandare retains his post as team manager.
The Warriors made headlines in Egypt when they threatened to boycott the opening match against the hosts on 21 June over unfulfilled promises.
The players claimed Zifa had reneged on their side of the bargain by failing to fulfil their financial obligations.
The players later received their outstanding payments and despite putting up a strong shift against Egypt, they went on to lose the match 0-1.
Ahead of their final group game against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Warriors camp was hit by another unrest as the players again threatened not to fulfil the match unless certain payments had reflected in their accounts.
Interestingly, Mushekwi, who was reportedly set to retire from international duty after the Afcon tournament, dangled an incentive to his fellow Warriors to try and win the final match against the Congolese, and make history by becoming the first group of Zimbabwean players to qualify beyond the group stages of the Afcon finals.
At one stage, during the impasse, the Zifa bosses reportedly even toyed with the idea of taking the drastic decision of withdrawing the team from the Afcon finals.
Consequently, the never-ending disputes over pay, which stalked the Warriors since the eve of their opening match against Egypt, cast the African football extravaganza in bad light because of the negative headlines around the globe this generated.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) turned their guns on Zifa for events surrounding the Warriors’ drama-filled participation at the Afcon finals and accused the local football mother body of gross incompetence.
The Sports Commission are also investigating how Zifa handled the funds received from Fifa, Caf and the fund-raising committee for the Afcon tournament.
Only last week, Zifa disbanded the Warriors from the technical staff to the players, while also handing life bans to the association’s immediate past president, Phillip Chiyangwa, and his deputy Omega Sibanda. B-Metro