By Sports Reporter
WARRIORS caretaker coach, Joey Antipas has drafted into his provisional main squad, at least seven Europe-born players of Zimbabwean descent to represent the country in two upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia next month.
Zimbabwe will host Botswana in the opening Group H match of the qualification campaign scheduled for Barbourfields Stadium on November 15 before travelling to Zambia for a date against the hosts four days later.
Headlining the list of the Europe-born stars in the squad is in-form Charlton Athletic forward Macauley Bonne, who missed the AFCON finals in Egypt due to passport issues.
Antipas has also, for the first time, included in his squad, highly rated 17-year-old Wales youth international and Swansea City defender Tivonge Rushesha who is however yet to switch international allegiance to Zimbabwe.
Bournemouth left back Jordan Zemura, Bolton Wanderers defender Adam Chicksen, Douglas Nyaupembe of Stockport County and Cliff Moyo of English sixth tier side Kidderminister Harriers are also part of the squad announced on Wednesday.
Another interesting inclusion in the squad is that of midfielder Jonah Fabisch who plays for German Bundesliga II side Hamburger SV’s youth side.
Jonah is son to late former Warriors coach Reinhard and Chawada Kachidza, a former Zimbabwe sprint hurdler who went to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as a member of the International Athletics Associations Federation (IAAF)’s Future Stars programme.
However, Fabisch’s participation and that of the other six Europe-born players is subject to their obtaining Zimbabwean passports which they have been struggling to secure over the past year due to the country’s stringent citizenship law.
England-based midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, who has been making waves in the EPL since his move to Aston Villa, has also been included in the squad together with former Warriors captain Knowledge Musona.
Nakamba missed the Warriors’ World Cup qualifier against Somalia after excusing himself from international duty to allow himself time to settle in at Villa, while Musona was recovering from hernia surgery.
The pair will be making a return to the national team for the first time since Zimbabwe exited the Afcon finals in June.
Warriors’ provisional squad
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka) Martin Mapisa (Velez CF) Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)
Defenders: Douglas Nyaupembe (Stockport County); Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba); Tivonge Rushesha (Swansea City); Cliff Moyo (Kidderminister Harriers); Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows); Adam Chicksen (Bolton Wanderers); Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth); Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic); Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor); Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids); Partson Jaure (Manica Diamonds); Kelvin Moyo (Chippa United)
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims); Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United); Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu); Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa); Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu); Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United); Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs); Phineas Bamusi (CAPS United); Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV)
Strikers: Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City); Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits); Prince Dube (Highlanders); Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht); Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC); Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows); Macauley Bonne (Charlton Athletic); Evans Rusike (SuperSport United)