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Loga calls crisis indaba today

by Staff reporter
28 Aug 2021 at 05:49hrs | Views
THE Warriors technical team are set to hold an emergency meeting today to deal with the crisis in their camp after eight players were barred from their opening 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Zimbabwe will play South Africa, next Friday, before taking on Ethiopia, four days later.

Coach Zdravko Logarusic, who named a 31-member squad, has been forced to work on a Plan B after the English leagues resolved to bar players from travelling to the countries, on the red-list, under the UK coronavirus rules.

The indaba comes as defender Teenage Hadebe, who plies his trade in the United States, has become the latest player to face the possibility of not coming home for the qualifiers. He is yet to be cleared by his new Major League Soccer club, Dynamos Houston.   ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, yesterday said additions to the squad will be announced this weekend.

"The Warriors technical team discussed possible solutions to the potential squad crisis, due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed on players, based in England.

"We also have been in touch with some clubs in England and they advised us that they made frantic efforts, to engage their Government, to no avail.  

"So, there is nothing that can be done for now.  "Replacements will be called up if FIFA and CAF's intervention in the stand-off do not yield positive results, in the next two days," said Gwesela.

Zimbabwe will not be able to have midfielder Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Macauley Bonne (Ipswich Town), Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town) and David Moyo (Hamilton Academical). Hadebe is also yet to be cleared by Dynamos Houston, who are struggling, in the MLS Western Conference.  Apparently, the MLS have games scheduled to run through the weekend of the World Cup qualifiers, with Houston set to face Portland, next Saturday.

FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has raised concerns about the integrity of the World Cup qualifiers, should some countries be disadvantaged, with their players having been barred from travelling, for the matches. Warriors' team manager, Wellington Mpandare, yesterday said the technical team would opt to call for reinforcements, from South Africa and Zambia.  

"We are going to sit down, as a technical team, to plan on the best way forward. It's unfortunate things have turned out this way.  

"We are also still talking to Teenage's team.  "But, in the meantime, we have to come up with replacements. There are some players in South Africa and Zambia and FC Platinum, as well."  

Mpandare confirmed they have no challenges with the France-based duo of Tino Kadewere and Marshall Munetsi, who have confirmed their availability. The Warriors, however, are concerned that there is no level playing field, considering South Africa have all the players they wanted, at their disposal.  Bafana Bafana were given a further boost after their star player, Percy Tau, completed his move from English side, Brighton & Hove Albion to Al Ahly of Egypt, during the week.

Tau would have failed to travel for the match against the Warriors had he remained in England, where he failed to break into the Brighton & Hove Albion team, in the past three seasons.  Football Association of Zambia president, Andrew Kamanga, also slammed the arrangement where countries, mainly in Southern Africa, are being forced to play their matches, without their key UK-based stars.

Chipolopolo will be without Leicester City forward, Patson Daka, and Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder, Enock Mwepu, for their matches against Mauritania and Tunisia.

"If you don't have the players from the English Premier League, it will render the World Cup competition not fair,'' Kamanga told the FAZ website.

"At worst, we will only be replacing two players; Patson and Enock, it wouldn't be so much of a challenge but we needed to have the full team. "But, if circumstances dictate that we are unable to have that, the technical bench have put in place measure to address the shortcomings.''

FAZ also confirmed fans will be allowed to return to the stadium for the World Cup qualifier with Tunisia to be held at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on September 7.

"We are pleased to announce that following our engagement with the Ministries of Health and Sport, we have been allowed to admit some fans for the September 7, 2021, FIFA World Cup qualifier,'' said FAZ general-secretary, Adrian Kashala.  

"This, however, is subject to strict observance of Covid-19 guidelines. CAF has been informed and has advised that we can only be allowed to admit 5, 000 fans for the September 7, 2021 match."

Source - the herald
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