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ZIFA gambles with UK-based players

Chaos at U17 girls camp . . . Players train in over-sized jerseys
Xolisani Gwesela

ZIFA gambles with UK-based players

ZIFA yesterday took a huge gamble by calling up seven United Kingdom-based players for the Warriors’ upcoming Fifa World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia next month.

Despite the English Premier League chief executive officer Richard Masters releasing a statement on Tuesday evening supporting clubs’ decisions to “reluctantly, but unanimously not release players for international matches played in 26 red-list countries”, Zifa named a 29-member squad including players based in the United Kingdom.

The players are Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba, Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic), Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town) as well as Macauley Bonne (Ipswich Town).

Also likely to be affected by the British government’s move is David Moyo of Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premier League.

Zifa though said it was hopeful that all the called-up players will be available for the two qualifiers at home against South Africa on September 3 and away to Ethiopia four days later.

“The international break begins on 30 August and players are expected to begin arriving on the same day. We are still hopeful that all players will be available for the matches despite the adverse position taken by the English Premier League to bar players from fulfilling the national assignments citing England’s stringent quarantine regulations,” said Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela in a statement yesterday.

He said they were engaging all the clubs “that have intimated that they are going to withhold players, hoping they will fulfil their obligations to release players as stated in the regulations on the status and transfer of players”.

“We are confident that the team that we will eventually come up with will still represent the nation with pride and compete to the best of their abilities as true Warriors,” said Gwesela.

Tanzania-based hitman Prince Dube is not among those called-up, with Zifa saying he still recovering from an injury he sustained towards the closing stages of last season’s topflight league campaign.

Warriors’ World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars), Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF)

Defenders: Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Divine Lunga
(Mamelodi Sundowns), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Jimmy Dzingai (unattached), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi)

Midfielders: Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune United), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV), Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Tafadzwa Rusike & Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Perfect Chikwende (Simba SC), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu) Ovidy Karuru (unattached)

Strikers: Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates), Tinotenda Kadewere (Lyon), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Knowledge Musona (Al-Tai), Macauley Bonne (Ipswich Town)

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