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Zimbabwe's foreign based player pool keeps increasing

by Staff reporter
04 Feb 2019 at 07:55hrs | Views
AS Zimbabwe brace for the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations football qualifiers when they take on Mozambique next month, the technical department will have a broad base to pick from following indications that there are several overseas-based players willing to feature for the Young Warriors.

The Young Warriors will kick-start their campaign against Mozambique in back-to-back qualifiers for the Under-23 AFCON to be staged in Egypt later in the year.

ZIFA have been working with Team Zimbabwe-UK and the Zimbabwe Foreign Legion to bring in foreign-based professional players with Zimbabwean roots to represent their country. Among those that have so far represented the country is Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa, who featured for the Warriors during their back-to-back matches against the Democratic Republic of Congo last October after he secured his Zimbabwean passport.

And they are not just focusing on the Warriors only but also the lower age-group teams. Zimbabwe Foreign Legion's founder Mistry Chipere said they have identified several Under-23 players dotted around the globe that are willing to play for the national teams.

"What I have just done is I have tried to open up, or maybe should I say to show the coaches that we have got a wider selection pool, not only in the Absa South African Premiership because we have been relying on it and the local league. But you have got guys from Europe, in the Under-17s, in the Under-20s," said Chipere.

Chipere has come up with a list of more than 20 players that are eligible to play for the national Under-23 side.

These include Reading's Andy Rinomhota, Tinashe Chakwana of Burnley, Reinhard Fabisch (Jnr), Matifadza Zata, Admiral Muskwe, Kundai Benyu, Terry Mupariwa, Farai Mutatu, Shama Bako, Seth Patrick, Martin Zulu, Kudzi Manyonga, Luther Munodawafa, Abubakar Moffart, Tristan Neydam, Arnold Ndiweni, Bobhoski Dube, Leroy Hlabi, Vitalis Takawira (Jnr), Tawanda Mutoti, Enrique Ricardo, Martin Mapisa, Reward Mwakona, Douglas Nyaupembe, Philip Bilson, Lance Moyo, Vashiko Dixon, Akim Kalim Abudul, Joshua Jeche and Washington Bgoni.

Most of them also qualify for the national Under-20 side as they are still below the age of 20. "As for me personally I am doing it out of passion, I don't expect anything because I just enjoy doing it. But as for the players I think success starts from the juniors, we should start testing this success from the junior football.

"These guys they want to come and play for their country but it's just an opportunity not being given to them, that's all. If they are called they will come. It's just for the coaches to call them, they are waiting," said Chipere.

He also believes if the players can play for the national team, it can also open doors for them to grow their football careers.

"So myself I feel why we don't have players in the top leagues in Europe (it's) because we are failing to help our boys that play in Europe by giving them international caps. If we give them international caps, maybe in COSAFA and they are seen on the higher level the way they perform, obviously they will attract better clubs and better deals," said Chipere.

He said they are working with UK-based Zimbabwean coaches Phillip Zulu and Charlie White in identifying these overseas-based players who have their roots in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe got a bye in the opening round of the Under-23 AFCON qualifiers and will be hoping to go past their neighbours Mozambique next month. They begin their campaign on March 20 and the second leg is on March 24.

If they manage to win the tie, they will then face the winner between South Africa and Angola in the final qualifying round. Seven countries from the qualifiers will join hosts Egypt in the final tournament. The top three countries from the continental showcase will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Identified Overseas-based Players

Goalkeepers:

Martin Mapisa (Velez FC, Spain), Akim Kalim Abdul (Sunshine FC, Australia), Washington Bgoni (FMU Patriots, United States).

Defenders:

Reward Mwakona (Larne FC, Northern Ireland), Vashiko Dixon (Zamora FC, Venezuela), Douglas Nyaupembe (Bury, England), Philip Bilson (Mainsfield, England), Lance Moyo (Mainfield, England), Tawanda Mutoti (Nottingham Forest, England), Joshua Jeche (Cambridge United, England), Martin Zulu (Swainhem Germaine 06, Germany).

Midfielders:

Matifadza Zata (Dundee United, Scotland), Farai Mutatu (Michigan State, United States), Seth Patrick (Vfb Lubeck, Germany), Shama Bako (VfB Lubeck, Germany), Jonah Renard Fabisch Jnr (Hamburg, Germany), Luther Munodawafa (Nottingham Forest, England), Moffat Abbubakar (CD Academy, Spain), Terry Mupariwa (Burnley, England), Kudzi Manyonga (FC Inter Turku, Finland), Kundayi Benyu (Celtic, Scotland), Tristan Neydam (Ipswich, England), Andy Rinomhota (Reading, England), Arnold Ndiweni (Mainfied, England), Bobhoski Dube (USA), Enrique Ricardo Ndlovu (Slovakia).

Strikers:

Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City, England), Leroy Hlabi (Gillingham, England), Tinashe Chakwana (Burnley, England), Vitalis Takawira Jnr (Portland Timbers, USA).

Source - chronicle

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