Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER national team captain Benjani Mwaruwari decided to take up an Afcon pundit gig with leading continental sport television channel SuperSport instead of joining the Warriors in Cameroon to avoid “destabilising” the squad with his late arrival.
A holder of a Uefa A coaching badge, Mwaruwari has been on SuperSport, analysing Afcon games alongside other African football greats such as Nigerian Augustine “Jay-Jay” Okocha since the beginning of the tournament currently underway in Cameroon.
Mwaruwari had been drafted into the Warriors’ technical set-up, joining Mandla Mpofu and Tawurayi Mangwiro as assistants to head coach Norman Mapeza, but failed to travel with the national team after testing positive for Covid-19 when the squad went into camp on Christmas eve.
The former Jomo Cosmos, Auxerre, Manchester City and Portsmouth forward was expected to join the national team after self-isolation, but opted to take up the punditry role instead.
Mwaruwari told Chronicle Sport from Johannesburg that it would have been unfair for him to join the Warriors in Cameroon when he had not participated in drilling the squad for the tournament.
“It’s always an honour to serve my country at any given time, but after coming out of isolation, I felt it was best that I don’t travel to Cameroon because there is not much that I could have done since I was recovering from Covid-19 when they were preparing.
If I had travelled, I would have arrived a day or two before the start of the tournament and professionally, there was little I could do as that would have been the first time for me to get the programme.
“I believe coach Norman Mapeza and the technical team are doing a good job at Afcon and I’ll be able to join them for future assignments from the planning phase right up to the last stages,” said Mwaruwari.