5 January 2012
PREMIERSHIP Golden boot winner Roderick Mutuma has been drafted into the Warriors squad to face Botswana in an international friendly match in Gaborone on Saturday.
Mutuma who had a dream outing in his debut season in the top flight last year is one of the five new additions made by the technical team yesterday to beef up the side after strikers Nyasha Mushekwi, Knowledge Musona and Edward Sadomba were not available.
The gangly Dynamos forward immediately responded to the call for his first national team duty and joined the squad at Zifa House yesterday with teammates Guthrie Zhokinyi and midfield hardman Milton Makopa who were also roped in.
Mutuma finished the season with 14 goals and is one of the two strikers in the squad alongside Cuthbert Malajila.
FC Platinum forward Charles Sibanda is also another late inclusion to the squad that had been severely depleted to just 14 players.
Moroka Swallows’ Oscar Machapa also received a late call after the 16 foreign based players had withdrawn but the defender turned down the invitation.
Warriors’ acting team manager Wellington Mpandare said they were left with no option but to extend the call to the players who ply their trade in the domestic championship.
Mpandare also revealed that they were still waiting for confirmation from Amazulu who had, however, indicated that they might not release their players Ramson Zhuwawo and Tapuwa Kapini.
Zimbabwe had called up a full strength squad under the pretext that the game was on the Fifa calendar but that was not the case and they faced challenges in securing the foreign-based players.
“We are facing challenges beyond our control and we cannot blame anyone. Some clubs feel that this is just an international friendly that is not on the Fifa calendar and they decided against allowing their players take part.
“It’s a blow but we also feel that some locally based players need this opportunity to play and prove themselves,” said Mpandare.
Zimbabwe will face the Zebras at the University of Botswana on Saturday in a match so crucial for the hosts who are preparing for their maiden appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea later this month.
But Mapeza will have to make do with the available resources after the squad was hit by massive withdrawals by his foreign-based contingent.
Norman Mapeza had called up a 23-member squad on Monday but all the 16 foreign-based players are not available.
Gilbert Mapemba who plays for South Africa’s Moroka Swallows withdrew from the squad late yesterday. Swallows however had indicated that they had no problems with their players travelling for the game.
Their Supa Disk counterparts Kaizer Chiefs made it clear that they will not release their players for the game and the technical team had to drop Lincolin Zvasiya, Thomas Sweswe and Willard Katsande.
The other Chiefs players Zhaimu Jambo and Tinashe Nengamasha had withdrawn on Tuesday due to injury and personal commitments.
Chiefs followed in the footsteps of Ajax Cape Town who made it clear that Tafadzwa Rusike and Khama Billiat will not travel.
Warriors acting team manager will have to do with local based players in the friendly match against Botswana after failing to secure the majority of their foreign-based players.
“We are now left in a difficult situation because the majority of the players who had been called up are not available.
“We are still looking if we can add more players because the squad is now severely depleted,” said Mpandare.
The squad is expected to depart Harare for Bulawayo this morning where they will pick up the FC Platinum trio of Charles Sibanda, Qadr Amini and Joel Ngodzo while doubts still linger over the Amazulu pair of Kapini and Zhuwawo.
Washington Arubi, George Chigova, Tapuwa Kapini, Tapiwa Kumbuyani, Qadr Amini, Guthrie Zhokinyi, Daniel Veremu, Denver Mukamba, Joel Ngodzo, Milton Makopa, Charles Sibanda, Ramson Zhuwawo, Cuthbert Malajila, Roderick Mutuma.
AllAfrica – All the Time