It is about two weeks before Zimbabwe takes on the Desert Foxes of Algeria in 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers, but time appears to be running out for the Zimbabwe team.
Events on the ground seem to suggest that the Warriors might be without some of the vital cogs of their machine unless action to avoid that starts right now.
Zimbabwe needs to start tracking down its foreign-based players right now to find out who is available and who is not instead of waiting for the last minute to do that.
Following up on our players and talking to their clubs is not all that difficult considering the fact that Zimbabwe has a small pool of
foreign-based players unlike the likes of Nigeria who have thousands and thousands scattered all over the globe.
It would be disastrous to wait for the last days only to discover that some of the players do not have passports, are injured or are not available due to other commitments.
Already, there is disturbing news that Tendayi Darikwa and Kundai Benyu do not have Zimbabwean passports and now is the time to make a follow-up on their applications and expedite the process.
This is also the time to confirm whether Macauley Bonne, Andy Rinomhota and a few others are truly not interested in Warriors call-ups so that the right decisions regarding them are made.
There is nothing that is preventing coach Zdravko Lugarusic from drawing up his provisional squad for the Algeria assignment because he already has an idea on whom he wants.
That list is the one that should be used by the team manager, Wellington Mpandare, to find out who will be coming and who will not so that those not available can be replaced when there is still time.
The players’ clubs need to be informed well in advance so that there won’t be blame games like what happened prior to the warm-up match against the Flames of Malawi.
We cannot afford to lose both games against the Desert Foxes because that could put our chances of qualifying for Cameroon 2022 in serious danger.
A win for Algeria in both matches would guarantee qualification for the reigning Africa champions, but it could do a lot of damage for the Warriors’ own aspirations.
Botswana could join us on four points should they overcome Zambia while a win for the Chipolopolo would also see them close the gap on us — and that is not what we want.
The worst we should do against Algeria is to win our home game, which would move us to seven points and away from both Botswana and Zambia and closer to qualification for Afcon.
That should be the prime target because a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. We cannot rely on the remaining games away to the Zebras and at home to the Chipolopolo because there is no guarantee that we will win any of them.
We should qualify by beating our opponents ourselves instead of relying on mathematics to calculate our chances. On that premise, we need our best players starting with the Algeria games to secure that qualification in style.
Zimbabwe Football Association, please, let us run around now and secure our players’ availability for Algeria well in time.
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