Nottingham Forest star Tendayi Darikwa along with other players of Zimbabwean decent named in the Warriors squad for the Congo Brazzaville Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) football qualifier trip remains doubtful with very little progress done to make sure they acquire the Zimbabwean passports.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa who has reiterated his desire to use the players born abroad for Zimbabwe’s cause, has included five of them in the squad for the September 9 tie.
Of the five, only Wales-based Alec Mudimu and Tinotenda Chibharo, who plays for FK Sloboda Uzice in Serbia, have their local passports in order.
Darikwa, Bradford City’s Adam Chicksen and Kelly Lunga, who is based in Germany, remain doubtful as they are yet to get their Zimbabwean passports.
“It’s very tricky now because we are running out of time. unless something happens in the next three days, then they cannot make this trip. The responsible authorities have been letting us down thus far, but we remain optimistic,” Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare said.
Chidzambwa called the players in question for the Cosafa tie in June, but it was only Mudimu who managed to represent his country of origin.
Interestingly, nothing has been done to ensure the players’ papers are in order in time for the Afcon qualifiers.
“I have no idea whether Darikwa and Chicksen are going to be available, but we need them, which is why we have included them in the squad. But if they don’t make it, I think we have enough cover because we called 28 players to join camp for this match,” Chidzambwa said.
The coach, who took Zimbabwe to their maiden Afcon appearance at Tunisia 2004, is looking to help the country make another appearance at the continental football showpiece to be hosted by Cameroon in June next year.
But he has to contend with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazaville and Liberia.
“The trip to Congo is a very tough one and we are expecting a very difficult challenge. Both DRC and Congo are ranked above us, so we need to be at our strongest against sides of such calibre,” he said.
Chidzambwa has been criticised over his selection of local players, especially the inclusion of Yadah Stars’ Leeroy Mavhunga and Byron Madzokere, as well as Richard Hachiro of Herentals.
FC Platinum defender Kevin Moyo, goalkeepers Donovan Bernard (Ngezi Platinum) and Talbert Shumba (Chapungu FC) complete the list of locally-based players.
“All I want to know is which locally-based players do you feel I should have included who are better than the ones I have called? Give me a name and I will include him,” Chidzambwa retorted.
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City, SA), Donovan Bernard (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs, SA), Talbert Shumba (Chapungu FC)
Defenders: Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest, England), Alec Mudimu (Cefn Druids, Wales), Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague, Czech Republic), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Adam Chicksen (Bradford City, England), Eric Chipeta (Cape Umoya United, SA), Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows, SA), Byron Madzokerere (Yadah FC)
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates, SA),Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam, Tanzania), Marvelous Nakamba (Club brugge, Belgium), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu, SA), Richard Hachiro (Herentals FC), Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka FC, SA), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Orlando Pirates, SA), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah FC), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs, SA)
Forwards: Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht, Belgium), Evans Rusike (SuperSport United, SA), Kelly Lunga (SC Bonner, Germany), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits, SA), Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang, SA), Tinotenda Chibharo (FK Sloboda Uzice, Serbia).