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Mapeza's shock pick

by Staff reporter
31 Dec 2021 at 00:09hrs | Views
Europe-based midfielder Kundai Benyu was a surprise inclusion into the Warriors' 23-member squad which left  Harare yesterday for the Africa Cup of Nations finals to be played in Cameroon.

The Norman Mapeza-coached team left Harare in two batches with the first group flying out in the morning to Johannesburg, while the second left in the afternoon for Ethiopia.

They are expected to link up in Ethiopia today to fly out to Cameroon.

Benyu was not on the original 30-man squad announced last week, but he will join the squad in Cameroon as the national football team gears up for the continental showcase.

Mapeza said Benyu brings in creativity. "We spoke about it at length we wanted someone creative and we wanted someone who will give us the box to box runs and Kundai will give us that," he said.

The Warriors are in the same group as Senegal, Guinea and Malawi, where the top two teams gain automatic qualification to the knockout stages of the tournament.

Striker Knox Mutizwa was dropped together with seven other players from the 22 that were camped in Harare over the last week.

Temptation Chiwunga, based in South Africa, the Dynamos trio of Frank Makarati, Taimon Mvula and Bill Antonio, Tapiwa Sibanda, Panashe Mutimbanyoka and Shepherd Mhlanga were all left out.

Benyu will join the squad together with skipper Knowledge Musona, Bournemouth leftback Jordan Zemura, Luton forward Admiral Muskwe, David Moyo of Hamilton Academical in Scotland and Tino Kadwere, who plays for Lyon in France.

The 24-year old Benyu makes a return to the national team colours having last appeared in 2017 where Zimbabwe played two friendlies against Lesotho and Namibia.

He is now plying his trade in Iceland where he is in the books of second division side Knattspyrnudeild Vestra.

Defenders Alec Mudimu and Teenage Hadebe as well as Kuda Mahachi, Musona and Kadewere are making a return to Africa's grand stage having featured at the last finals that were staged in Egypt.

Mapeza said the team's prospects will be clearer after the whole squad has assembled and trained together.

"When all the guys are together it's much easier to see where we are and we can achieve. So what is important are the combinations we have got some guys who have not been playing for the national team and as you know we have arranged some training games so that we can work on the combinations and the tactical part of the game," Mapeza said adding that players in camp were quite motivated to do well.

"Well this is what we have and we have to work with what we have, I hope that these guys that we have selected will go and do the nation proud. We will see it from there. We have a good mixture; it's all about gelling up."

Zimbabwe are looking to organise matches against Ethiopia or Sudan in Yaounde where they will be based until Wednesday.

Warriors' Afcon Squad

Goalkeepers: Petros Mhari (FC Platinum), Martin Mapisa (FC Zamora), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars).

Defenders: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Godknows Muriwa (Dynamos), Gerald Takwara (Venda Football Academy), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Bruce Kangwa (Azam), Onismor Bhasera (Supersport United)

Midfielders: Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Never Tigere (Azam), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Supersport United), Ishmael Wadi (JDR Stars), Kundai Benyu (Vestra).

Forwards: Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Prince Dube (Azam), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Knowledge Musona (C) (Al Tai), Tinotenda Kadewere (Olympique Lyonnais).

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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