By Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarusic has expressed concern over the uncertainty surrounding availability of some key Zimbabwe national team players after naming an enlarged provisional squad for the crucial AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia next month.
The Croatian tactician, who is aiming to guide Zimbabwe to their third successive AFCON qualification has cast his net wide in his selection by including several uncapped players in his squad of 33 players.
The coach said the unusually huge list is influenced by uncertainty over the availability of some players due to injury and Covid-19 regulations in different parts of the globe.
“Usually, our list of players should be made up of 28 players, that is 3 goalkeepers and 25 infield players. We made it much bigger because we are facing a few [potential] problems,” Logarusic said.
“We don’t know what [the situation] will be in England, Spain and USA because some clubs have declined to release players because of the Covid-19 policies there.
Logarusic revealed he was also worried over the availability of the injured duo of Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona, who are hoping to have fully recovered in time for next month’s qualifiers.
“We have problems with some injured regular players whom we used in our games against Algeria, especially Khama [Billiat], [Marshall] Munetsi and [Knowledge] Musona,” he said.
“We have more than 10 players whose availability is in doubt. We have to call up more players in case some test positive for COVID19 in camp We will select a team for the game against Botswana leaving some players in the country in case we lose some players before the game against Zambia,” the coach said.
Uncertainty however surrounds the availability of some England-based key players who are in the squad announced on Thursday due to the stringent Covid-19 regulations enforced by British authorities for entrance into their country.
The United Kingdom have put 33 countries which they deem high risk areas in terms of coronavirus variants under a red list and Zimbabwe and Argentina are included in that bracket.
Some of the players named in the squad, who could be affected include Tendayi Darikwa, Marvelous Nakamba, Jordan Zemura, Brendon Galloway, Admiral Muskwe and Scotland-based striker David Moyo.
The Warriors coaching department will also be hoping that the goalkeeping duo of Spain based Martin Mapisa and USA-based Tatenda Mkuruva are not affected by the Covid-19 travel restrictions after dropping the error-prone Elvis Chipezeze.
Should one of them fail to show up or gets injured, it will provide Loga with a mountain to climb as Zambia-based goal minder Talbert Shumba is the only other goalkeeper in the squad.
Zimbabwe take on Botswana in Gaborone, on March 25, in the penultimate round of the qualifiers. The Warriors then host Zambia, at the National Sports Stadium, four days later.
The COSAFA trio are fighting for the remaining sole ticket, from the group, as champions, Algeria, have already qualified for the finals in Cameroon next year.
Goalkeepers: Talbert Shumba (Nkana, Zambia); Tatenda Mkuruva (Michigan Stars, USA) Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders); Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF, Spain)
Defenders: Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth, England); Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana, Zambia) Alec Mudimu (Ankaraspor, Turkey); Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey); Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows, SA); Tendai Jirira (Detroit City, USA); Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic, England); Brendan Galloway (Luton Town); Victor Kamhuka (Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysia); Romario Matova (NK Solin, Croatia); Peter Muduwa (Simba SC, Tanzania); Carlos Mavhurume (CAPS United); Shadreck Nyahwa (Bulawayo Chiefs)
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims, France) Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa, England) Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu, SA) Ovidy Karuru (Black Leopards, SA) Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Tafadzwa Rusike (Zesco United, Zambia) Brian Banda (FC Platinum); King Nadolo (Dynamos); Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United); Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United, Zambia); Knowledge Musona (KAS Eupen, Belgium) Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City); Tanaka Chinyahara (Red Arrows, Zambia)
Strikers: Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates, Zambia) Tinotenda Kadewere (Olympique Lyonnais, France) David Moyo (Hamilton Academical, Scotland); Admiral Muskwe (Wycombe Wanderers, England); Farau Matare (Bulawayo Chiefs); Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows, SA), Evans Rusike (SuperSport United, SA); Prince Dube (Azam, Tanzania)