By Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarusic has been forced to select nine local players who have not trained or played competitive football in almost a year in his 18-man squad which will take on Malawi in an international friendly.
The match, which is scheduled for this Sunday, will be played at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
It is being used by both teams to prepare for the resumption of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with Zimbabwe set to face Algeria home and away next month.
Logarusic had targeted to select a squad dominated by European-based players who have been playing competitive football after their respective leagues resumed recently.
The Croat’s plans were however dashed due to ZIFA’s failure to send invitations to the foreign-based players’ respective clubs.
This has left the national team coach without any option but to select a squad dominated by local players who have neither trained nor played competitive football since the start of the year.
Midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, who plays for Aston Villa in the English Premiership, is one of only three Europe-based stars in the squad together with Turkey-based defender Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu, who plies his trade with Sherriff Tiraspol in Moldova.
Queens Park Rangers striker Macauley Bonne, the France-based duo of Marshal Munetsi and forward Tino Kadewere headline the long list of absentees in the tie.
Instead, the squad announced on Thursday features the likes of striker Stanley Ngala of FC Platinum, defenders Ian Nekati of Chicken Inn and Qadr Amin of Ngezi Platinum Stars, who last played competitive football several months ago.
There are just three South Africa-based players in the squad who include Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat, Charlton Mashumba of Polokwane City and MacClive Phiri of Sekhukhune United.
There were surprise callups for three Zambia-based players who have also not been playing competitive football after the league in that country was cancelled following a brief restart in July owing to a surge in numbers of the Covid-19 occurrences at the time.
The Zambia-based players include uncapped midfielder Tanaka Chinyahara of Red Arrows as well as defenders Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana FC) and Takudzwa Chimwemwe of Buildcon.
In a statement announcing the squad, ZIFA appeared to blame the government’s delay in approving the trip to Malawi for the embarrassing boob which leaves the coach with a severely depleted squad for the international friendly.
“The list would have been announced before the commencement of the international break as is the norm, but the announcement had to be delayed until we had clearance from the government to travel to Malawi for the match,” ZIFA said.
“The government approved our request to travel to play Malawi on 8 October 2020.
“Due to travel embargoes in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic, some players from abroad whom the coach wished to assess will not make it for this match.
“Consequently, the technical team incorporated nine locally based players into the team, with one eye on the upcoming 2021 African Nations Championship.”
The makeshift Warriors squad departs for Blantyre this Friday.
Goalkeepers: Talbert Shumba (Triangle United), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum Stars)
Defenders: Ian Nekati (Chicken Inn), Qadr Amin (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Alec Mudimu (Sherriff Tiraspol), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Buildcon), Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor), MacClive Phiri (Sekhukhune United), Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana FC)
Midfielders: Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Tanaka Chinyahara (Red Arrows), Ishmael Wadi (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Wellington Taderera (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Phenias Bamusi (CAPS United), King Nadolo (Dynamos)
Strikers: Charlton Mashumba (Polokwane City), Stanley Ngala (FC Platinum)