The Sunday Mail
WARRIORS coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa has defended the 28-man provisional squad he announced last week saying he can’t please everyone.
Chidzambwa named the provisional squad last Wednesday, ahead of Zimbabwe’s AFCON Group G qualifier away to Congo on September 7, and as expected the announcement saw some arrows coming the veteran gaffer’s way.
While the recall of on fire Chinese based striker Nyasha Mushekwi – who scored another brace for Dalian Yifang yesterday — was widely welcomed by the football fraternity, the omission of such players as Knox Mutizwa, Ronald Pfumbidzai and in form reigning Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere raised dust in some circles.
Mutizwa is still the talk of the ABSA Premiership, two weeks after his wonder bicycle kick inspired Golden Arrows to a 2-0 win over Maritzburg while left back Pfumbidzai has been consistent for Bloemfontein Celtic since last season.
The inclusion of Chapungu keeper Talbert Shumba, whose side has conceded 28 times in 22 matches as well as Byron Madzokere of Yadah Stars and Richard Hachiro of Herentals has also generated debate.
However, Chidzambwa is sticking to his guns and believes the soldiers he has called in will fight to the last breath in the battle of Congo.
“You will never pick a squad that pleases all, it’s common all over the world,” he said.
“I am a human being whose view might differ from others, so naturally I cannot please everyone. That’s how life goes.
“I believe we have done our best as the technical team to call in the players we think can do the best job in Congo. There are a lot of factors that are looked at when selecting the national team.”
Chidzambwa is thrilled that talisman Knowledge Musona ,who made his first start for Belgian giants Anderlecht last Friday night, is finally getting some game time.
The 28-year-old Musona played 77 minutes as Anderlecht beat Royal Excel Mouscron 2-0 to register their fourth win a row since the start of the 2018/2019 Belgian First Division League three weeks ago.
Musona joined the 34-time league title winners Anderlecht in May following an impressive 3-year spell with fellow Belgian side KV Oostende — where he scored 41 goals plus 18 assists — but the Zimbabwean star is yet to establish himself firmly at Belgium’s most successful team.
However, Anderlecht coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck threw in the Warriors skipper as a central striker in a 3-4-3 formation last Friday night.
Musona played 77 minutes to take his game time tally to 113 minutes ahead of Zimbabwe’s crucial AFCON qualifier in Congo and Chidzambwa was naturally pleased with the development.
“It’s a fact Musona is one of the key members of the squad and to hear that he is starting at his club is a welcome development for us.
“My hope is that he gets more game time so that we will have him at his best when we face Congo early next month,” said Chidzambwa who is also pleased by how a number of Warriors players are making waves in their respective leagues across the world.
One of those players is Talent Chawapiwa, the diminutive Baroka FC winger who is rocking the South African ABSA Premiership to an extent that he was the main subject of discussion last week during the popular Thursday Night Live football show that is hosted by revered presenter Robert Marawa.
The 26-year-old Chawapiwa has played every minute of Baroka’s three matches since the start of the season and was described by his coach Wedson Nyirenda as a “big bomb” during Marawa’s show.
Khama Billiat is also showing flashes of brilliance at Kaizer Chiefs and was recently described as the best player in South Africa by his coach Giovanni Solinas.
And this is exciting Chidzambwa.
“It’s good to have your players in fine form, it increases the level of competition for the first eleven. We just hope that we will have all the players healthy on match day,” he said.
Zimbabwe are on three points and lead Group G courtesy of a superior goal difference over DR Congo, going into the second round of fixtures.
After the Congo assignment, Zimbabwe will play back-to-back fixtures against DR Congo between October 10 and 13.
George Chigova (Polokwane), Donovan Benard (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank), Talbert Shumba (Chapungu), Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Alec Mudimu (Cefn druids AFC), Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Eric Chipeta (Cape Umoya United), Adam Chicksen (Bradford City), Byron Madzokerere (Yadah), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brudge), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Orlando Pirates), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Evans Rusike (Supersport), Kelly Lunga (SC Bonner), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits), Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang), Tinotenda Chibharo (FK Sloboda Uzice)