Prince in town, Mkuruva waits
By Eddie Chikamhi
In-form Zimbabwe international forward, Prince Dube, has led the early birds to report for camp ahead of the back-to-back AFCON qualifiers against Algeria next week.
The Warriors have started to assemble for camp.
Dube, who missed the last call for the international friendly match against Malawi, has been in blistering form for his Tanzanian side, Azam FC.
The former Highlanders forward was joined by the South Africa-based trio of Ovidy Karuru, Divine Lunga and goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.
National teams general manager, Wellington Mpadare, revealed defender, Alec Mudimu, who plies his trade in Moldova for top-flight side Sheriff Tiraspol, was expected home today.
Goalkeeper Talbert Shumba will be the only player to arrive tomorrow from Zambia where he recently signed for Super League side, Nkana.
“Four players have so far arrived and we expect only Alec Mudimu tomorrow (today) but the majority of the players will be coming in on Monday.
“We have players that will be playing for their teams on Sunday evening so they can only make it on Monday.
“Plans are in place but we are not likely to have any training sessions because of the low numbers of the players we have so far.
“But, Monday, we should expect the majority of the guys and then we depart Tuesday.
“I didn’t include Jirira and Mkuruva, we had tickets for them to come on the 8th but they have not been cleared so we will know tomorrow (today),” said Mpandare.
Skipper Knowledge Musona will headline a cast of 10 foreign-based professionals expected on Monday.
However, former Warriors number one, Tatenda Mkuruva, will know today if he will make his long-awaited comeback to the national team set-up.
He still needs to be cleared by the United States government to travel because of the coronavirus regulations.
Mkuruva, who plays for the Michigan Stars, was drafted into the squad along with another United States-based defender, Tendayi Jirira.
However, the travel arrangements for the duo were not clear by yesterday as they were still waiting for clearance.
A second wave of Covid-19 has been reported across Europe and the United States and restrictions are being imposed again.
The former Dynamos goalkeeper last played for the national team in 2017.
However, new coach, Zdravko Logarusic, wants to give him a new lease of life as most of the players were not active due to the coronavirus lockdowns.
Mkuruva saw regular action against his side, who play in the lower leagues, and won a couple of man-of-the-match accolades during the season.
Jirira, who plays for Detroit City, was named for the first time and is eagerly looking forward to a maiden cap.
However, there has been concern, among some analysts, about the quality of the game in some of the lower leagues of the United States.
Mpandare yesterday said the players were still to get clearance from their base.
Air tickets were sent to them, but they still need to be cleared by authorities to travel to Africa.
English Championship sensation Jordan Zemura, who made his senior debut for Bournemouth recently, is also booked for Monday along with Tendayi Darikwa, Adam Chicksen and Scotland-based David Moyo.
Darikwa has endured a rough ride over the last 18 months and is in a fight to save his Nottingham Forest career.
Nottingham Forest News reported yesterday that the call to the national team could have come at the right time for the right back.
He injured his ACL during a training session shortly after manager Sabri Lamouchi arrived in the summer of 2019, and was out for almost the entire season.
But he has since regained full fitness.
The former Burnley player made the bench for three of Forest’s final four games during 2019/20 but didn’t make it onto the pitch.
Darikwa is way down the pecking order and, with Chris Hughton having replaced Lamouchi, he faces a new fight to get into the team.
He played for Zimbabwe during the 2019 AFCON qualifiers and was part of the team at the finals in Egypt.
Kaizer Chiefs’ Khama Billiat, Terrence Dzvukamanja of Orlando Pirates and Kuda Mahachi of Supersport are expected to feature for their clubs in the MTN8 semi-finals today.
The quartet of Teenage Hadebe, Marvelous Nakamba, Tino Kadewere and Marshal Munetsi will be the last to report for camp on Tuesday, before the team leaves aboard a chartered flight.
The Warriors are set to travel to North Africa for the first leg next Thursday in Algiers before returning home to the National Sports Stadium for the reverse fixture four days later.
Warriors squad for Algeria
Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka, SA), Talbert Shumba (Nkana, Zambia), Tatenda Mkuruva (Michigan Stars, USA)
Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana, Zambia), Alec Mudimu (Sheriff Tiraspol, Moldova), Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth, England), Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Tendai Jirira (Detroit City, USA) Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows, SA), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest, England), Adam Chicksen (Notts County, England)
Marshal Munetsi (Stade de Reims, France), Ovidy Karuru (Unattached), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu, SA), Tafadzwa Rusike (Zesco United, Zambia), Kuda Mahachi (Supersport, SA), Knowledge Musona (KAS Eupen, Belgium), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates, SA), King Nadolo (Dynamos), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa, England), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs, SA)
Tino Kadewere (Olympique Lyon, France), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical, Scotland) Prince Dube (Azam, Tanzania). The Herald