By Grace Chingoma
FORMER Warriors skipper Knowledge Musona is expected to bounce back into the squad, to be announced by coach Joey Antipas today, for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
The talismanic forward was overlooked for the World Cup preliminary round qualifier against Somalia. The Anderlecht forward subsequently lost his armband to Alec Mudimu.
But The Herald understands the former Kaizer Chiefs star will be part of the enlarged squad that has been selected by the Chicken Inn gaffer.
The team will first host Botswana on Friday November 15 before they take on Chipolopolo the following Tuesday in Zambia.
Zimbabwe are in Group H, which also features AFCON champions Algeria, and the Warriors will meet the Desert Foxes next year in August. The squad is also likely to include a handful of players who were either born in Europe or went there at a tender age.
They include defenders Tivonge Rushesha, who plays for Swansea City development side.
His family roots are in Wales.
Bury defender Douglas Nyaupembe, Kidderminster Harriers’ Cliff Moyo and Charlton Athletic forward Macauley Bonne are set to be named in the squad.
However, the British Brigade do not have valid documents required for this competition and will have to get Zimbabwean passports for them to feature in the two games.
Young Warriors goalkeeper Martin Mapisa, who is based in Spain, is also likely to be named in the squad.
The coach has kept faith in Baroka’s Elvis Chipezeze and Dynamos’ Simba Chinani.
It appears the door, for now, remains shut for the duo of George Chigova and Edmore “Zikeeper” Sibanda, who played at the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt.
Antipas, who qualified for the 2020 CHAN finals over the weekend, following a 3-1 victory against Lesotho, is also likely to pick local based in the provisional squad.
They include in-form Highlanders forward Prince Dube, who led the scoring charts during the CHAN qualifiers, ZPC Kariba’s Ian Nekati, Kelvin Moyo, Partson Jaure and CAPS United winger Phineas Bamusi.
Some of the regular players such Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Khama Billiat, Golden Arrows’ Knox Mutizwa, the SuperSport United duo of Evans Rusike and Kuda Mahachi, Turkey-based Teenage Hadebe and Wales-based skipper Mudimu, are also part of the squad.
They are set to go into camp on November 11, when the FIFA date for November friendly or official matches begins. Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba also returns into the team’s fold after missing the Somalia tie as he was still settling at his new club.
He has caught the eye with solid performances at Villa.
Le Havre forward Tino Kadewere, who scored his 11th goal of the season last weekend, is also expected to make a return.
Leicester City forward, Admiral Muskwe, who was ruled out of the home tie against Somalia because of an injury sustained on the eve of the match, also makes the squad.
Crucially, for Antipas and his men, the two opening games will set the tone for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers which will be completed next year. The Herald