Zimbabwe Name Depleted Afcon Squad

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By Sports Reporter

WARRIORS coach Norman Mapeza has picked a severely weakened 30-man national team squad missing several key players squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals to be played in Cameroon.

The eagerly awaited squad which was announced via a statement by the ZIFA acting chief executive, Xolisani Gwesela is sure to set tongues wagging following the omission of some key players and inclusion of a number of uncapped players.

Gwesela said the team will begin training on 23 December in Harare and the final 23 players will be selected on 31 December.

Mapeza’s options have been severely limited following the retirement of South Africa-based star Khama Billiat, the absence of Tendayi Darikwa and injuries to Marshal Munetsi, Marvelous Nakamba and recently capped defender Brendan Galloway who were expected to form the spine of the Afcon squad.

The FC Platinum gaffer has however brewed a shocker after omitting free-scoring Tanzania-based striker Prince Dube and Mamelodi Sundowns defender Divine Lunga, who were both expected to add some experience to the weakened squad.

Instead, Mapeza has included six uncapped players, quite a high number of inexperienced players for a big tournament such as the Afcon finals.

The uncapped brigade includes South Africa-based Temptation Chiwunga who plays for second-tier side JDR Stars and the locally based quintet of Shepard Mhlanga (Chicken Inn), Panashe Mutimbanyoka (FC Platinum), Never Tigere (Azam), Tapiwa Sibanda (Cranborne Bullets) and Dynamos’ Frank Mukarati.

The squad also features inexperienced players such as Dynamos duo of teenage prodigy Bill Antonio and goalkeeper Timon Mvula, FC Platinum midfielder Kelvin Madzongwe and defender Gerald Takwara, who recently completed his return to the national side.

After narrowly missing out on selection for the previous edition of the Afcon finals in Egypt, England-based forward Admiral Muskwe, who plays for Championship side Luton Town will finally have an opportunity to showcase his talent on the continental stage.

He is one of the two UK-based stars in the squad together with highly-rated left-back Jordan Zemura, who has been having a remarkable season at Bournemouth.

Saudi Arabia-based striker and national team skipper Knowledge Musona headlines the strike force which also includes the out of form Tino Kadewere, who has been having a difficult season in France.

 Zimbabwe Squad:

GOALKEEPERS: Petros Mhari (FC Platinum), Martin Mapisa (FC Zamora), Talbert Shumba, (Free State Stars) Taimon Mvula (Dynamos).

DEFENDERS: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Tapiwa Sibanda (Cranborne), Godknows Murwira, Frank Makarati (Dynamos), Gerald Takwara (Venda Football Academy), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Bruce Kangwa (Azam), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United)

MIDFIELDERS: Temptation Chiwunga (JDR Stars), Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Bill Antonio (Dynamos), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Never Tigere (Azam), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Shepherd Mhlanga (Chicken Inn), Ishmael Wadi (JDR Stars), Panashe Mutimbanyoka (FC Platinum)

STRIKERS: Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows), Prince Dube (Azam), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Knowledge Musona (Al-Tai), Tinotenda Kadewere (Olympique Lyonnais).