Does Katsande deserve another dance with Warriors?

IT’S “D-Day” for our “Warriors” next week against “The Taifa Stars” of Tanzania in that crucial first round, second leg encounter of Afcon 2015 after we fell 0-1 in Dar es Salaam last Sunday. There has been a tidal wave of anger, disappointment, accusations, theories and a lot more after that shock result.
I have been flooded with the above, but the most intriguing question put to me came from The Sunday Mail Editor, Edmund Kudzayi, who asked: “If I were Ian Gorowa, would I reinstate Willard Katsande back into the Warriors squad after the controversy surrounding Bute’s non-appearance for the match preparations?”

Phew, I didn’t see that coming! I told him I would have to think about it and give my answer in this week’s column.
Here’s what I had to consider first before saying “Yes” or “No”:

Was Bute really telling the truth when he claimed that he had a stomach bug that was irritating him so much that he wouldn’t make the trip to Zimbabwe to join the squad?

How come, then, that he was reported to have attended his club’s (Kaizer Chiefs) training session exactly 24 hours after telling Gorowa — through manager Shariff Mussa — that he was ill?

Should we pardon him on the basis that at 28 years of age, he is probably still not mature enough to realise that playing for one’s country is the ALL IMPORTANT thing?

Is he indispensable so much that the team can’t function without him?

Did he really make a name for himself to be offered a job — first at Ajax Cape Town and now Kaizer Chiefs — at the Warriors or at his former club Gunners? If South Africa’s Teko Modise can refuse (a couple of days ago) to be included in the squad as a replacement for Bafana Bafana’s two upcoming friendlies against Australia and New Zealand by simply stating that “he’s tired and wants to rest”, should we punish Katsande for stating that he was ill?

The Katsande issue has really angered most fans because they fought for him previously. Remember former Warriors mentor Klaus-Dieter Pagels axed him from the squad saying he “did not suit his style of play”!

There were incessant demands from all over the country, as fans clamoured for his recall, but Pagels stuck to his guns.

One question being asked by some fans right now is: “If he does come back, who will he replace in that team?

Certainly not Stephen “Stavho” Alimenda, they are claiming, after the ginger-haired midfielder’s stellar performance in Tanzania.

So what would I do if I were Dibango?

In order not to set a bad precedent by riling the more loyal players and also not let his “case” continue to derail the task before us in the second leg, I would say let’s forget about him for now but forgive him and not consider him for the time being (even for the second round, most likely against Mozambique) and re-consider him after we beat both Tanzania and Mozambique and qualify to play in the group stage . . . we are going to qualify for the group stage, aren’t we?

I would like to wish the “Mighty Warriors” all the best against “She-polopolo” of Zambia this afternoon at Rufaro in the African Women’s Championship tournament’s final qualifier, first leg.

To Fely “Figo” Muzongondi, Marjorie “The Boss” Nyaumwe and Rutendo “Madzimai” Makore and company, let’s “take them apart”!
Go Mighty Warriors Go!

IS the Castle Lager Premiership taking shape now . . . or is it?

Bulawayo giants Highlanders, who are still unbeaten — together with newcomers ZPC Kariba — blew the rays of light from Harare City last Thursday at Barbourfields by winning 1-0 to reclaim top spot in the standings.

Remember three weeks ago when I suggested that the Premiership title could be headed out of Harare and Bulawayo for the first time since 1967 when St Paul’s of Musami, Murehwa, won it?

Although it’s now going to be a mammoth task for Hwange (but hey, they are only one point behind Bosso) to topple the Kelvin Kaindu-coached side, anybody who writes Hwange off now does so at their own peril.

You see, while Bosso will be under immense pressure from their demanding fans, especially at Barbourfields, to keep on winning, Chipangano don’t have that kind of pressure.

Their fans, even at the Colliery, will not really be bothered at all if their side finishes second, third or fourth because to them it would have been a great step forward since their former coach Tenant Chilumba secured a top four finish three years ago.

I mean, weren’t the coalminers fighting relegation until the very last day or so last season?

Highlanders will also have to keep looking over their shoulder at the chasing posse of How Mine, Hwange, ZPC Kariba and possibly old enemy Dynamos!

At the other end, what looked like an uphill slog is slowly appearing a mountain to climb for The Sunshine Boys.

The defeat by Bosso kept them languishing perilously at the foot of the log and coach Bigboy “ABC” Mawiwi might just plunge into the “XYZ” of soccer’s abyss by the end of the season!

THE Murehwa Sports Development Trust will be holding a memorial service for the late director of top-flight 1967 championship-winning side St Paul’s, Father Anthony James Davies at Musami Mission this morning (8.30am).

The service will then be followed by various soccer matches featuring the young and old from 11 am.

The huge occasion is also expected to be graced by Fr Davies’ most famous product, George “Mastermind” Shaya, and other greats who played alongside him like Jawett Nechironga and Felix Mbidzo, among others.

SOME people didn’t believe the story that appeared in this column a fortnight ago about Darryn T (my apology it was actually their sister side, Cone Textiles) scoring 22 goals in a match against Suri Suri at Rufaro in the late 80s!

Well, it is true.

Those doubting Thomases and Alices will be astonished to learn that this isn’t the highest scoreline in Zimbabwe’s soccer history.
Back in 1973, a Northern Zone Division Three side called Glens Strikers, then coached by the late and legendary Ashton “Papa” Nyazika, actually won a match by 33 goals to 1!

Glens Strikers, who thrashed a side called Stars United, had many players who became household names in the country.
Some of them were Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa, Archieford “Hucheuche” Chimutanda (late), Raphael “Tsano” Beira, Itayi “IT” Tambala, Jim “Brown” Anthony (late), Dixon Ngwanya (late), Joseph “Bhofani” Chingwalu (late), William “Weeds” Chikauro and Kumbi “Rabhz” M’fimba (late).

And did you know that the great Brazilian wizard Ronaldinho once scored all 23 goals (in a 23-0 victory for his team) in a junior match, as he began scripting his brilliant career’s journal?

Remember to take care of your loved ones and each other. It’s bye bye for now.

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