Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FACED with the possibility of missing an array of United Kingdom-based stars for the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia early next month, the Warriors’ technical staff might be forced to stick with the squad that played the last two Afcon qualifiers in March.
Tanzania-based striker Perfect Chikwende scored a priceless goal in Zimbabwe’s 1-0 win away in Botswana to send the Warriors through to the Afcon finals in Cameroon in January next year.
The Warriors embarked on that crunch-Botswana trip without six UK-based players they had called up for camp after their clubs decided to hold onto them to avoid a 10-day quarantine for travelling to Africa, which had been placed in the red zone by most Western countries.
Five months later, Zimbabwe is again faced with the possibility of missing the UK contingent.
There are 10 days left before the Warriors take on Bafana Bafana at the National Sports Stadium on Friday next week and European clubs some Warriors play for haven’t responded to requests for their release.
The bulk of the squad that faced Botswana is available, with the South African-based group already playing in the opening matches of the 2021/22 DStv PSL season.
In Botswana, the Warriors’ starting line-up consisted of goalkeeper Talbert Shumba, defenders Onismor Bhasera, Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Teenage Hadebe and Jimmy Dzingai.
Thabani Kamusoko, Ovidy Karuru, Kudakwashe Mahachi and Terrence Dzukamanja were in the midfield, while Chikwende led the attack.
Shumba is unattached and has been club hunting. Karuru is also club hunting.
Hadebe has been active in the United States, while Dzingai was omitted from Sekhukhune United’s match day squad that lost 0-1 to Chipp United last weekend.
Retired national team players Tapuwa Kapini and Willard Katsande were in action for Sekhukhune.
Dzingai and winger Talent Chawapiwa will be hoping to be included in Sekhukhune squad that will face Maritzburg United today.
Mahachi, who was an unused substitute in Supersport’s 0-0 draw against Cape Town City, will be hoping to break into the squad and be involved when they face Golden Arrows.
Butholezwe Ncube was left out of AmaZulu’s opening match, which they lost 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns, while goalkeeper Washington Arubi conceded twice as Marumo Gallants lost 2-0 to Baroka FC.
Today, Baroka take on Khama Billiat’s Kaizer Chiefs.
Terrence Dzukamanja came from the bench in Orlando Pirates’ 2-2 weekend draw.
Meanwhile, striker Prince Dube’s club Azam FC is in Zambia for a pre-season tournament.
Also preparing for the start of the new season is Zesco United’s Kamusoko. – @ZililoR