Warriors team manager Mpandare says door is open for Andy Rinhomota
Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare has said the national team door is open for Cardiff City star Andy Rinhomota (25) who has committed himself to play his international football with Zimbabwe.
Mpandare’s remarks come after the 25-year-old midfielder told the media in the UK last week that he is prepared to don the gold and green Warriors jersey.
He said this during a pre-match media interview ahead of his side’s clash with the Warriors full back Tendai Darikwa’s Wigan Athletic at the weekend.
According to reports, Rinhomota has been ‘turning down’ several Warriors call ups in the last five years.
But his latest comments regarding playing for the Warriors shows he has since changed his mind.
“The first time they ( Zimbabwe) called me up I was injured,” said Rinhomota.
“Since then it would be an issue of applying for a Zimbabwean passport, so I haven’t gone around that process yet, but it’s something that I will look into.
“AFCON is a great platform to showcase your abilities. It’s another experience and another side to my game I could add, getting international experience.”
Reacting to his comment, Mpandare who is the Warriors team general manager, responsible for the player’s welfare and also to pursue them for national duty said:
“He is a player we started pursuing from Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambgwa’s time and at one moment we were convinced he was going to make it but it didn’t happen.
“At times we have to be patient with these players (UK born with Zimbabwean roots),” he told Nehanda Radio.
Adding to his comments, Mpandare feels players with Zimbabwean roots including Rinhomota, born to a Zimbabwean father and a British mother should be offered a chance to represent the country.
“Every player that has Zimbabwean roots deserves a chance to represent the country, so if Andy is willing as has been shown through his tweet then I am willing to help him get a Zimbabwe passport.
Despite that, the Warriors manager said he awaits the player’s response after contacting him, probably to seek the way forward and begin the process of helping him acquire a Zimbabwean passport.
“However, I sent him a message on his whatsapp number the day he tweeted and unfortunately he has not responded.
“Either he changed his whatsapp number or the tweet was not his. I don’t see any reason not to respond if he really wants to represent Zimbabwe, he knows my number.”
Zimbabwe has been pursuing Rinhomota since 2017.
He was also named in the Warriors’ provisional squad for the 2019 AFCON however he did not pitch up for the national team duty reportedly owing to a sustained injury.
In 2021, he was also in the plans of the Croatian tactician Zdravko Logarusic who was in charge of the Warriors before being fired for poor results.