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Warriors coach takes huge gamble

by Staff reporter
02 Nov 2023 at 05:50hrs | Views
Warriors coach Baltimore Brito has taken a significant risk by inviting several foreign-based players for the team's World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda and Nigeria later this month, some of whom have previously declined the offer to play for the national team.

The Brazilian coach, who also serves as Highlanders' coach, announced a provisional squad of 27 players for the two matches scheduled to take place at Huye Stadium in Rwanda. Zimbabwe will face Rwanda on November 15 and Nigeria four days later, with the Warriors playing their home match against Nigeria in Rwanda due to a lack of Caf-certified stadiums in Zimbabwe.

The squad is predominantly composed of foreign-based players, with only seven drawn from the domestic league. Concerns exist that some of these players may not honor the call-up, as several, including Andy Rinemhota of Cardiff City, Tawanda Maswanhise of Leicester City, and Tivonge Rushesha, have previously been invited but did not show up.

The squad also includes new faces like Liverpool's Isaac Mabaya, Brentford goalkeeper Marley Tavaziva, and Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Leon Chiwome. All three players, part of the English Premier League giants' youth squads, were born in England and have represented their country of birth at the youth level.

However, some of the England-born players have previously struggled to participate due to passport-related issues, and with only two weeks until the Rwanda match, it is unlikely that the necessary documentation will be processed in time.

England-born Tendayi Darikwa, who missed the Warriors' previous matches, is set to make a return to the squad. Also included are South Africa-based goalkeeper Washington Arubi, as well as the France-based pair of Marshal Munetsi and Tino Kadewere, Marvelous Nakamba of Luton, and Teenage Hadebe based in the United States. These senior players are expected to lead the squad as they aim to secure their first-ever qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by the Americas.

Zimbabwe is part of Group C in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, alongside South Africa, Lesotho, and Benin. The group winner will earn automatic qualification for the World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Warriors provisional squad

Goalkeepers: Benard Donovan (Chicken Inn), Washington Arubi (SuperSport United, South Africa), Martin Mapisa (FC Malaga City, Spain), Marley Tavaziva (Brentford, England).

Defenders: Tendayi Darikwa (Apolon Limassol, Cyprus), Andrew Mbeba, Peter Muduhwa (Highlanders), Frank Makarati (Dynamos), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo, USA), Munashe Garananga (Sheriff Tiraspol, Moldova), Brendon Galloway (Plymouth Argyle, England), Jordan Zemura (Udinese, Spain), Tivonge Rushesha (Reading, England)

Midfielders: Brian Banda (FC Platinum), Marshal Munetsi (Stade de Reims, France), Andy Rinemhota (Cardiff City, Wales), Marvelous Nakamba (Luton, England), Gerald Takwara (Ohod, Saudi Arabia), Isaac Mabaya (Liverpool, England), Tanaka Shandirwa (Dynamos)

Strikers: Obriel Chirinda (Bulawayo Chiefs), Prince Dube (Azam, Tanzania), Tino Kadewere (Olympique Lyon, France), Admiral Muskwe (Exeter City, England), Walter Musona (FC Platinum), Terrence Dzvukamanja (SuperSport United, South Africa), Leon Chiwome (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Tawanda Maswanhise (Leicester, England)

Source - newsday
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