Mushekwi too big to ignore

NYASHA Mushekwi is making life very uncomfortable for Warriors coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa.

The Chinese based striker is in fine form but Chidzambwa has to pretend as if he is not aware of the way Mushekwi is scoring all types of goals — headers, volleys, left foot and right foot tap ins — while being marked by million dollar defenders.

But it’s not that Chidzambwa cannot tell a player in form when he sees one, nay, the veteran coach has seen it all and can be trusted with making a football call even in his sleep.  However, just like Norman Mapeza before him, the Warriors coach is the victim of a nasty fall out between Mushekwi and Zifa.

Chidzambwa is the man who will be asked serious questions should he not include the 30-year-old former Caps United and Mamelodi Sundowns gunman in the squad to face Congo Brazzaville in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier next month.

After all, Mushekwi, who scored a hat trick on Friday as his Dalian Yifang FC side dispatched Guangzhou R&F 3-0, possesses the qualities needed to come out with positive results from tough places such as Brazzaville.  While he may not be the most skilful of forwards, Mushekwi, who took his goal tally to seven from 10 league appearances with Friday’s threesome, is a power play striker who can also play as a lone gunman.  Towering at 1, 88 meters, he is the type of guy who will have no qualms with feeding on crumbs while the team parks the bus, he is the guy who cannot be bullied out of the game by a few kicks to the ankle. Mushekwi, together with Willard Katsande, Cuthbert Malajila and Mathew Rusike, fell out with Zifa when an Afcon bound Warriors squad boycotted a send-off dinner that had been organized for them at the beginning of last year. The quartet was accused of being the ring leaders of what Zifa considered an act of treason.

When Mapeza replaced Kallisto Pasuwa soon after the Afcon finals, he was reportedly told to ignore the four.  After Mapeza, in came Chidzambwa who says he is seized with the matter of checking on all foreign based players — including one Nyasha Liberty Mushekwi – before announcing his squad.

“Together with the team manager, we are keeping tabs on all our foreign based players, including Nyasha, as we work on coming up with a squad for the game against Congo,” said the Warriors gaffer.

“Effort is also going towards ensuring that the British based players whom we want for national duty secure the requisite paperwork. We remain hopeful that their papers will be sorted before the trip to Congo. If that fails, we will have to call on the players whose papers are in order.”

However, the chances of Mushekwi bouncing back into the Warriors fold rest on the striker kissing and making up with Zifa.

Informed sources last night disclosed that team manager Wellington Mpandare is leading the diplomatic offensive to make Zifa and Mushekwi smoke the peace pipe.

“Trust me there is an appreciation of what Nyasha brings to the team, he is the gunman we don’t have,” they said. “Playing Knowledge (Musona) at centre forward is an act of desperation really, the captain prefers coming from the wings but with limited options, the coaches have little choice but to play him as an out and out striker.

“However, the good thing about this matter is that Nyasha wants to play for the national team, the other players want him in the team as well. There is just one sticking point, it can be classified as a matter of egos… but it’s not something that cannot be worked around.”

Could the sticking point be the little matter of a written apology from Mushekwi?

If it is what will Mushekwi, who pleads innocent, be apologising for?

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