By Mehluli Sibanda
Hope has been lost in having the six United Kingdom-based Zimbabwe Warriors being available for the two 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia.
Yesterday, Warriors team manager, Wellington Mpandare said the battle to have the six players has been lost while central defender Teenage Hadebe, who plays for Houston Dynamo in the United States of America’s Major Soccer League is also not coming for the two fixtures because his club does not want to release him.
The good news is that the France-based duo of Marshal Munetsi and Tinotenda Kadewere are coming for the two matches.
It has been confirmed now that Zimbabwe will not have the six UK-based players, Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Macauley Bonne (Ipswich Town) and David Moyo (Hamilton Academical) for the fixtures against South Africa at home as well as Ethiopia away.
Without any exemptions for the players from the British government, the Zimbabwean players have to quarantine for 10 days on their return from national duty because Zimbabwe and Ethiopia are on UK’s list of countries in terms of Covid-19 travel guidelines.
The Warriors technical team last Friday discussed solutions to the potential squad crisis due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed on players based in England.
A resolution was made that replacements will be called up if Fifa and the Confederation of African Football intervention in the standoff does not yield positive results in a space of two days.
Last Tuesday, English Premier League clubs resolved not to release players for the international break if they are travelling to red listed countries as quarantine on return will see them miss some crucial fixtures.
It seems now they have accepted that the UK-based players and Hadebe will not be part of the Warriors when they go into battle against South Africa on Friday and Ethiopia next Tuesday.
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic has made some additions to the provisional squad. Knox Mutizwa of Lamontville Golden Arrows in the DStv Premiership and Ishmael Wadi who plays for JDR Stars in Mzansi’s GladAfrica Championship have been called up together with Silas Songani of FC Platinum. The players are expected to start reporting for camp from tomorrow. The Sunday News