Warriors debate rages…Analysts yellow-card local goal scorers’ exclusion from squad Johannes Ngodzo

Innocent Kurira, [email protected]

ANNOUNCEMENT of the 23-man Warriors squad for two crucial World Cup qualifiers next week has caused much debate among fans, analysts and coaches.

Warriors interim head coach Jairos Tapera has included several European-based stars, including Marshal Munetsi, Tawanda Chirewa, Brendan Galloway, and emerging talent Shane Maroodza. The Warriors will first play Lesotho in Johannesburg on June 7 followed by a crunch tie against South Africa in Bloemfontein on June 11.

The exclusion of PSL top goal scorers, Lynoth Chikuhwa and Never Rauzhi, has sparked controversy among fans.
Boasting seven and six goals respectively, Chikuhwa and Rauzhi are currently leading the domestic goal-scoring charts. However, Tapera opted for a frontline featuring established internationals like Tinotenda Kadewere (FC Nantes), Tawanda Chirewa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) and Douglas Mapfumo (Polokwane City), along with up-and-coming talent Tymon Machope (Simba Bhora).

Kadewere’s inclusion has also drawn some criticism, with his record of only three goals in 25 appearances raising questions.

Never Rauzhi

Former Warriors player and coach, Johannes Ngodzo, told Saturday Chronicle that the experience of players like Munetsi was essential for success and suggested that continuity with coaching staff would be beneficial for the team.

“If a player is doing well like Chikuhwa then they deserve a call-up even if they don’t play. It does a lot to the player’s confidence and can even improve performance when they know they can be called to the Warriors if they play well,” he said.

“My major concern when it comes to the national team is the lack of continuity, especially with the coaches. If we want to be a formidable outfit, we must have a permanent coach with a contract of at least five years, give them targets and if they fail in that period, then they are shown the exit door.

“The continuous changes will not help us. Looking at the upcoming games, we have to bank on the experience of guys like Marshall Munetsi,” said Ngodzo.

However, another coach Kudzayi Mhandire emphasised the squad’s balance and potential for positive results if properly prepared.

Kudzayi Mhandire

Mhandire also suggested that Chikuhwa and Rauzhi may not be ready for international competition yet.

“I feel the coaches did the right thing by leaving them out because that would have been throwing them into the deep end. Players need to progress.

“These guys need to get international football experience at tournaments such as Cosafa and Chan then up,” said Mhandire.

“If you throw them into the deep end right now, in the event they crumble it will be difficult to get them up again. So it’s all a process and a game of patience. They should just continue doing well and progress through other tournaments.

“We have a balanced side. If they prepare well I don’t see why they will not get positive results.”
Fans can secure tickets for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier against Lesotho online, with prices starting at R50 for adults.

Lynoth Chikuhwa

Warriors Squad:

Bernard Donovan (Chicken Inn), Martin Mapisa (Dynamos FC), Godfrey Chitsumba (Manica Diamonds)

Gerald Takwara (Ohod FC), Teenage Hadebe (Konyaspor) Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Munashe Garananga (KV Mechelen), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders), Godknows Murwira (Caps United), Shane Maroodza (Huddersfield), Devine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Andy Rinomhota (Rotherham United), Jordan Zemura (Udinese), Walter Musona (Simba Bhora) Daniel Msendami (Jwaneng Galaxy), Tivonge Rushesha (Reading), Joey Phuthi (Sheffield Wednesday), Tawanda Maswanhise (Leicester City)

Tinotenda Kadewere (FC Nantes), Tawanda Chirewa (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Douglas Mapfumo (Polokwane City) Tymon Machope (Simba Bhora).

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