By Sports Reporter
FORMER Warriors captain Willard Katsande has broken his silence on his surprise omission from Zimbabwe’s provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals which kickoff in Cairo, Egypt on June 21.
Katsande, who captained Zimbabwe at that tournament in Gabon, was dropped for much of the qualifying campaign, only briefly bouncing back for the away match against Liberia in Monrovia on November 18 last year.
After being overlooked for the Warriors’ final AFCON qualifier against Congo in March, Katsande had been tipped to bounce back in the squad for the AFCON finals and the preceding COSAFA Cup assignment.
Despite his strong finish to what was largely a disappointing season with his South African side Kaizer Chiefs, Katsande was omitted from the Warriors’ provisional squad while his club teammates Khama Billiat and Teenage Hadebe will take their positions in the Cairo football jamboree.
The veteran midfielder said Zimbabwe has fresh raw talent that is coming through and this could have persuaded coach Sunday Chidzambwa to overlook him.
“I’m not going to Egypt, because the kids have been doing well during the qualifiers, so they can just go and finish the business,” said Katsande.
“As you know, it’s a transition. We are bringing the young guys to take the national forward, and with the bad season I had (at Kaiser Chiefs), I need to sit down and reflect.
“I need to try to recharge my batteries and try to change the situation we find ourselves in at the club, because we are the only people able to change the situation.”
The Warriors will have to first get the COSAFA Cup assignments out of the way with the Chidzambwa-led side aiming to stretch their impressive record in the tournament to a seventh title when they defend their crown in Durban starting at the quarterfinal stage on Saturday.
After the COSAFA Cup, the Warriors will then head for the proposed high profile friendly against three-time African champions Nigeria on June 8.
Drawn in Group A, which includes Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and the hosts Egypt, the initial target for Zimbabwe’s football heroes will have to be getting into the knock-out stages.