By Ricky Zililo
Former Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu handed the captaincy to defender Kelvin Moyo as his Zambian Super League side Nkana beat Moroccan giants Casablanca 2-0 in the first-leg of the Caf Confederation Cup play-off at the weekend.
The vote of confidence given to Moyo, who joined Nkana last month after a year of inactivity following the termination of his contract by Chippa United of South Africa, enhances his chances of getting a national team call-up.
The arrival of Moyo, who can play as a central defender or left-back, has seen fellow Zimbabwean Jimmy Dzingai being relegated to the bench.
Dzingai was part of the Warriors’ squad that did duty in the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against continental champions Algeria in November last year.
Inactivity could cost Dzingai a place in the Warriors’ squad that will be announced this week.
Besides Moyo, big goalkeeper Talbert Shumba, who guarded goal in Zimbabwe’s 2-2 draw against Algeria at the National Sports Stadium, is the only national team goalie who was in action at the weekend.
Shumba, Moyo and right-back Gilroy Chimwemwe were part of Nkana’s starting line-up against Casablanca.
Another goalkeeper George Chigova has been relegated to the bench at SuperSport United and is patiently waiting for his time as Rowan Williams has been uncompromising between the sticks.
While winger Kudakwashe Mahachi and striker Evans Rusike started in SuperSport’s 2-1 win over visiting Cape Town City, Chigova again sat in the bench.
Mahachi gave a good account of himself, playing in an unfamiliar left wingback position, while Rusike provided an assist for the first goal.
Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze is finding it difficult to reclaim the starting place at Baroka FC since being relegated to the bench.
Statistics were not immediately available for United States of America-based goalie Tatenda Mukuruva, who could not travel for the Algeria matches because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Forgotten goalkeeper Washington Arubi has been a regular starter for TTM FC in the South African Premiership and kept a clean sheet on Friday when his side beat Maritzburg United 1-0.
Arubi last played for the Warriors in 2013 when Zimbabwe beat South Africa 2-1 in a friendly match.
Defender Alec Mudimu, who plays for Ankaraspor in the Turkish second tier league, was in action when his side sank deep into relegation following a 0-3 defeat to Altinordu.
Jordan Zemura of Bournemouth has gone for nine matches without competitive action since playing on January 9 when his side beat Oldham Athletic.
Wigan Athletics’ Tendai Darikwa has been a regular starter for his English League One side and he was on the losing end when they went down 1-2 to Oxford United.
Notts County defender Adam Chicksen has also been struggling for game time, making only one start in 2021.
He played in his team’s 2-2 FA Trophy fifth round draw against Havant and Waterlooville last month.
Midfielders that were in action at the weekend are Thabani Kamusoko, who scored Zesco’s goal in a 3-1 Zambian league win against Buildcon.
Orlando Pirates’ forward Terrence Dzvukamanja started in the Soweto giants’ 3-0 thrashing of Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana in the Caf Confederation Cup, while Marvelous Nakamba watched from the bench in Aston Villa’s 0-0 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion.
Defensive midfielder Danny Phiri was in action for Golden Arrows alongside teammates Divine Lunga and Knox Mutizwa.
Scotland-based striker David Moyo finally broke a 17-match goal drought, when his Hamilton Academical side beat Motherwell 4-1 in a league match.
Moyo, who was part of the national team squad that played against Algeria in last November’s back-to-back Afcon qualifiers, came in as a second-half substitute in Saturday’s emphatic win.
Before Saturday’s goal, the Zimbabwean striker had last scored on October 20 last year in Hamilton Academical’s 2-4 loss to Aberdeen.
Moyo has been struggling to command a regular starting place at his club and has only managed to finish one of out his side’s last seven games played in 2021.
Since last month, he has managed three starts, of which he has failed to last the entire game and was pulled out just after the halftime break in two encounters. Moyo, who’s hoping to be included in next month’s Afcon qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia, has twice come off the bench since the beginning of the year and missed two outings for his team.
Lack of activity and failure to score in the Scottish league might cost Moyo a slot in the Warriors’ squad, as the likes of Knox Mutizwa, who plays in the South African Premier Soccer League where a bulk of the national team players are based, as well as Prince Dube (Azam FC, Tanzania) have been regular starters at their clubs.
Barring injuries, France-based forward Tino Kadewere is favourite to lead the Warriors’ attack against Botswana and Zambia. The Chronicle