The air of uncertainty surrounding Zimbabwe Warriors’ trip to Malawi for Saturday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier was finally cleared yesterday when the team assembled following the intervention of Zimbabwe government.
According to The Herald newspaper, Zimbabwe’s Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa intervened to clear the impasse between Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and national team coach Callisto Pasuwa over outstanding dues which threw the Warriors’ preparations into turmoil.
Pasuwa on Tuesday named his 19-member squad for the match and the Warriors are expected to fly into the country today for the Group L assignment scheduled for Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Langa said although it was not a secret that there were financial challenges in Zimbabwe, the nation could not afford to miss out on the Afcon qualification campaign.
The Warriors head coach has selected 10 foreign-based players, including three who ply their trade in Europe.
The squad includes Belgium-based Knowledge Musona (KV Oostende), Marvelous Nakamba (Vitesse, the Netherlands) and Nyasha Mushekwi who is currently making headlines with his goal scoring prowess in Sweden at Djugardens IF.
Others are South Africa-based Partson Jaure (University of Pretoria), Eric Chipeta (Chippa United), Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Kudakwashe Mahachi, Khama Billiat, Cuthbert Malajila (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Mathew Rusike (Kaizer Chiefs).
Danny Phiri, Justice Jangano, Bernard Donovan and Partson Jaure are the only players who were in the Warriors team which played at this year’s Cosafa Cup recently.
Pasuwa has also granted first senior team call ups to seven Young Warriors (Under-23 side) who were part of the team that qualified for the Congo 2015 Africa Games and is still to lose a competitive match.
Musona, Katsande and Malajila will be returning to the Warriors for the first time since the ill-fated 2015 Afcon qualifier against Tanzania in June 2014.
Zifa ppokesperson Xolisani Gwesela told the association’s official website www.zifa.org.zw that training would commence yesterday.
“We would have wanted a longer period for preparations, but as we have always said, our plans are hampered by lack of financial resources hence Zifa is in dire need of government and corporate support.
“Glory can only come when national teams are fully funded. Regardless of the challenges, we are confident of scooping a positive result against Malawi,” said Gwesela. n