By Eddie Chikamhi
ZIFA have again engaged the Government to help ensure some of the players called for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers next month have passports.
Among the new players called up by interim coach Joey Antipas are youth sensation Tivonge Rushesha, Stockport County’s Douglas Nyaupembe and Jordan Zemura of Bournemouth.
Adam Chicksen of Bolton Wanderers, Cliff Moyo, Hamburger SV midfielder Jonah Fabisch and Charlton Athletic forward Macauley Bonne have been drafted for camp.
The challenge, however, is to get the players the documentation to play for Zimbabwe inside the next three weeks since most of them do not hold valid passports, apart from Fabisch and Nyaupembe.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare yesterday said they have since engaged the authorities to help the players get passports before the assignments against Botswana and Zambia next month.
“We have players like Bonne and Adam Chicksen who still don’t have Zimbabwean passports,’’ said Mpandare. “These are key players for the coach and we have engaged the relevant authorities to expedite the processes.
“We don’t anticipate huge challenges with the likes of Rushesha, Moyo and Zemura because they have the passports which only need to be renewed. Yes, we have had problems in the past but we are positive, the engagements are taking place and by next week we should have a clear position.’’
The Warriors are in Group H of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers. Algeria are the fourth team in the pool.
The Warriors are set to get their campaign rolling against Botswana at Barbourfields on November 15 before travelling to Zambia, four days later, in the quest for a fifth AFCON appearance.
The home tie against Botswana will be played on November 15 at Barbourfields at 6pm and the away match against Zambia is set for 6pm on November 19 at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka.
Antipas retained the core of the squad that represented the nation at the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt led by Knowledge Musona as revealed by The Herald yesterday.
Man-of-the-moment Marvelous Nakamba is also part of the squad along with Alec Mudimu and Teenage Hadebe.
The coaches also named 10 players from the South African Premier Soccer League led by poster boy Khama Billiat.
Defender Tendayi Darikwa is still recovering from an injury. Goalkeepers George Chigova and Edmore Sibanda have not been considered.
“Everyone we wanted we managed to get. As we move forward the coach is looking to cast the nets even wider to some other Zimbabwean players at home and abroad.
“But to make everything clear (on Sibanda and Chigova), there was no instruction whatsoever to leave them out.
Seventeen-year-old Rushesha was born in Zimbabwe but moved to the United Kingdom with his family in 2003. He has represented Wales at Under-17 level but is still eligible to represent Zimbabwe at international level.
Another defender Moyo (26) was born in Bulawayo, where he attended Robert Tredgold Primary School. In 2002, at the age of nine, he moved to England to live with his parents in Stoke-on-Trent.
Moyo was called up by the Zimbabwe national team for the first time in March 2018.
He made his debut in the semi-final of the 2018 Four Nations Tournament, during a penalty shootout defeat against hosts Zambia last year.
Nyaupembe (19) was born in England and played football for Bury from the Under-13 age-group.
Zemura, who recently joined Bournemouth’s Under-21 squad from Bonne’s Charlton Athletic, is also another interesting prospect. He was born in England to Zimbabwean parents and has since made his intentions clear to play for the Warriors.
“The coach is looking at the CHAN finals as well. Remember the team will be playing in Cameroon early next year.
“By including the locals, he hopes that they get the mental strength they need ahead of the tournament. Who knows?
“Probably, they will also impress and get to be selected for the AFCON qualifiers,” said Mpandare.
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka), Martin Mapisa (Velez CF), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos).
Defenders: Douglas Nyaupembe (Stockport County), Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba), Tivonge Rushesha (Swansea City), Cliff Moyo (Kidderminister Harriers), Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Adam Chicksen (Bolton Wanderers), Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor), Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Partson Jaure (Manica Diamonds), Kelvin Moyo (Chippa United).
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Phenias Bamusi (CAPS United), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV).
Strikers: Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Macauley Bonne (Charlton Athletic), Evans Rusike (SuperSport United). The Herald