British brigade to join Warriors Wellington Mpandare
Wellington Mpandare

Wellington Mpandare

Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
THE first batch of the British Brigade, led by highly-rated teenage midfielder Kundai Benyu who plays for Scottish champions Celtic, is finally coming home to represent their motherland in international football.

A number of them have been named in the Warriors squad for matches against Lesotho and Namibia next month.

The Warriors will take on Lesotho in an international friendly in Maseru on November 8 and then travel to Windhoek for a date against Namibia’s Brave Warriors in the Dr Hage Geingob Cup three days later.

Marshall Gore, a Zimbabwean-based in England who has been working around the clock to persuade a number of players with local roots to play for the Warriors, is believed to have covered a lot of ground in coming up with a sizeable number of stars who can add value to the Warriors.

Gore is a passionate Warriors fan and was in Tunisia to cheer the team at their maiden appearance at the African Cup of Nations in 2004 and also travelled to Egypt to support the team two years later.

He is set to arrive in Harare on November 8.

The 19-year-old Benyu was signed by the Glasgow giants in July this year and has so far featured in one league match and one League Cup for Celtic whose manager Brendan Rodgers believes the Zimbabwean, who was born in England, could be the future of the club.

Tendayi Darikwa, Admiral Muskwe and Macaulay Bonne have also been included in the 22-member squad.

These players were either born or grew up in the United Kingdom and have British passports, which has been a sticking point in the past, but they are expected to feature in the two games without hassles since friendly games rules are different to tournament matches.

Darikwa is now at Nottingham Forest.

Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare said they are hopeful the players will report for camp and they have already secured air tickets for them.

“I am in touch with more than 30 eligible players to play for Zimbabwe but because of time frame we called those four for now so that they integrate smoothly into the team,” said Mpandare.

”They have communicated but commitment and actually coming here are different.”

The Warriors will be under the guidance of Zifa Technical Director Wilson Mutekede and Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe and is expected to go into camp on Monday ahead of their departure for Maseru the following day.

Zifa have been hoping to secure a substantive coach for the Warriors ahead of the two matches with Bruce Grobbelaar, Peter Ndlovu and Joey Antipas their preferred choices.

However, negotiations are still continuing although Zifa have already interviewed Antipas for the top job.

Missing in action from the list released yesterday is Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Khama Billiat who has not been included in the squad.

Billiat last featured for the national team at the Africa Cup of Nations early this year and his absence will be extended at least by another two games.

Warriors team manager Mpandare said the player has been ruled out through injury.

“Khama is injured. Sundowns responded to our letter that he has to go under a medical examination first since he was injured and missed the match against AmaZulu.

“So time is no longer on our side and we decided to overlook him for these matches,” he said.

Zifa are not leaving anything to chance as they prepare for the showdown against Namibia in the Dr Hage Gneingob Cup at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

The Warriors are taking the match seriously and Mutekede has called some of his strongest guns such as the Belgium-based duo of skipper Knowledge Musona and Marvelous Nakamba.

The manager added that the technical team has selected the players as part of ongoing preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that will resume next year in March.

“The whole idea of these matches is to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and you can see that we have retained the bulk of players who played against Liberia except players such as Danny Phiri and Thabani Kamusoko who are injured,” he said.

Sweden-based Tinotenda Kadewere and Maritzburg forward Evans Rusike are also back in the fold after missing the Liberia match through injuries.

They were part of the team which went to Gabon for the Nations Cup finals in January.

And the technical team have also come up with a few surprises including players such as FC Platinum winger Ali Sadiki and Yadah teenage striker Leeroy Mavunga, who has struggled for form, since returning from a trial stint in Europe.

The coaches have also rewarded consistency picking up players such as Bulawayo City forward Ishmael Wadi and Ngezi Platinum midfielder Liberty Chakoroma and defenders Qadr Amini and Kelvin Moyo, who are also doing well for their clubs.

Devon Chafa, who has been the best player in the domestic Premiership in recent weeks, has also been drafted into the squad.

Warriors squad
Goalkeepers: Edmore Sibanda (CAPS United), George Chigova (Polokwane City).
Defenders: Dennis Dauda (Yadah Stars), Tendai Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Qadr Amini (Ngezi Platinum), Jameson Mukombwe (Black Rhinos), Kelvin Moyo (F.C Platinum), Peter Muduwa (Highlanders).
Midfielders: Kundai Benyu (Celtic), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Golden Arrows), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Ali Sadiki  (FC Platinum), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum), Devon Chafa (CAPS United), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars), Ishmael Wadi (Bulawayo City).
Strikers: Evans Rusike (Maritzburg United), Knowledge Musona ( KV Oostende), Admiral Muskwe (Leicester), Macauley Bonne (Leyton Orient), Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens), Tendai Ndoro (AL Faisaly F.C).

Technical Team: Wilson Mutekede ( Head Coach), Lloyd Chitembwe (Assistant Coach), Tembo Chuma ( Goalkeepers  Coach), Hillary Tshuma (Team Doctor), Admire Nyamadzawo (Physiotherapist), Wellington Mpandare ( Team Manager).

You Might Also Like