By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S hopes of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon received a major boost after French football authorities allowed the duo of striker Tinotenda Kadewere and midfielder Marshal Munetsi to feature in the Warriors’ two remaining matches.
After the build-up to the matches was dominated by news of withdrawals by several European-based players, Zimbabwe finally received some rare dose of good news after ZIFA confirmed that Kadewere and Munetsi are heading home for the two fixtures.
While announcing the final squad of 23 players to do battle, ZIFA revealed that the duo will make use of a private jet on their way back to France.
“The French Football Federation has agreed with the French government that Tinotenda Kadewere and Marshall Munetsi will be exempted from quarantine when they return to their clubs,” ZIFA said in a statement.
“The two will use a private flight to return to France. The Association is engaging with its partners to ensure that the condition is met so that Zimbabwe can assemble the strongest possible team for the important matches. Warriors based in Zambia are already in camp, so is the SuperSport duo of Evans Rusike and Kuda Mahachi.”
Belgium-based Warriors captain, Knowledge Musona was the first of the European-based stars to arrive in Harare ahead of crucial matches.
Musona touched down at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport just after midday and immediately joined the rest of the Warriors who are already in camp.
Orlando Pirates’ Terrence Dzvukamanja and Sudan-based Al Hilal’s, Last Jesi also arrived Monday while the Turkey-based duo of Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu as well as Spain-based goalkeeper Martin Mapisa are expected to fly in tomorrow afternoon.
The Warriors are expected to fly out of Harare on Wednesday to Johannesburg from where they will connect to Francistown.
The Warriors face Botswana in Francistown Thursday before they take on Zambia at the National Sports Stadium in Harare next Monday.
Zimbabwe are second in the group with five points and any of the three nations can easily secure the remaining qualification slot depending on how many points they pick in the remaining two matches.
Zambia currently anchor Group H with three points on their tally while Botswana are third with four points.
Defending African champions Algeria have already qualified for the AFCON finals after amassing 10 points.
Goalkeepers: Talbert Shumba (Nkana, Zambia), Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF, Spain), Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders)
Defenders: Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana, Zambia), Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Alec Mudimu (Ankaraspor, Turkey), Tendai Jirira (Detroit, USA), Victor Kamhuka (Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysia), Romario Matova (NK Solin, Croatia), Gilroy Chimwemwe (Nkana, Zambia)
Midfielders: Thabani Michael Kamusoko (Zesco United, Zambia), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu, SA), Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims, France), Ovidy Karuru (Black Leopards, SA), Perfect Chikwende (Simba SC, Tanzania), Last Jesi (Al-Hilal, Sudan), Tafadzwa Rusike (Zesco United, Zambia), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United, SA), Tanaka Chinyahara (Red Arrows, Zambia), Knowledge Musona (KAS Eupen, Belgium)
Strikers: Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates, SA), Evans Rusike (SuperSport United, SA), Tinotenda Kadewere (Lyon, France).