Warriors call up Bafana hopeful

HARARE - Kaizer Chiefs forward and Bafana Bafana hopeful Matthew Rusike has been drafted into the new-look Warriors squad for a friendly international against Botswana next week.

It could not be immediately ascertained whether the 22-year-old midfield-cum-striker will honour the call-up after reports this week indicated that the Amakhosi star faces a tough decision as he weighs up whether to commit his international future to Zimbabwe or South Africa.

Rusike, who was born and raised in Harare, has a Zimbabwean father and a South African mother, but has represented his country of birth at youth international level.

Fifa rules stipulate that players can change national teams as long as they haven’t played a competitive fixture for a country at full international level, so those Young Warriors appearances would not rule out the Amakhosi star switching allegiance to Zimbabwe’s neighbours and rivals.

Meanwhile,  it appears new Warriors coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels is sticking to his word that his squad will not mainly be made up of foreign-based players as what used to be the norm in the past. Pagels has called up 12 domestic Premiership players into the squad which was released yesterday.

The Dynamos trio of goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi as well as defenders Partson Jaure and Ocean Mushure lead the cast of locally-based players.

Highlanders stars Masimba Mambare and Peter Moyo are also some of the prominent home-based players in the squad.

Harare City goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupadengu and forward Silas Songani have also been included.

There were also places in the squad for former Dynamos chief strikers Rodreck Mutuma and Simba Sithole, who recently joined South African clubs Bloemfontein Celtic and SuperSport United respectively.

 Among players plying their trade in South Africa, Pretoria University goalkeeper Washington Arubi makes a return to Warriors fold after getting a wholly suspended sentence for taking part in the Asiagate match-fixing scam last year.

 The Ajax Cape Town pair of Khama Billiart and Tafadzwa Rusike, Black Leopard’s Abbas Amidu and Kaizer Chiefs defender Lincoln Zvasiya also make the list.     

Pagels requested Zifa to have all the foreign-based players who are in his plans for future assignments to come for the Zebras tie.

 Germany-based Knowledge Musona, Archieford Gutu of Kalmar FF in Sweden, and Denmark-based Quincy Antipas are the only three Europe-players drafted into the squad.

 Warriors team manager Sharif Mussa said all players were expected in camp on Sunday.

“We only have two days to prepare for this match,” Mussa told the Daily News yesterday.

 “For now, these are the players whom the coach feels he wants to work with. He wants to get started with these ones but it doesn’t mean doors have been closed for other players.”

 Pagels, who is yet to have the feel of his new job following his appointment as the Warriors head coach last year, is taking the friendly match seriously.

The German was appointed interim Warriors coach following the resignation of Rahman Gumbo after the former FC Platinum mentor failed to steer the Warriors to the on-going African Nations Cup finals in South Africa.

Zimbabwe will play its first competitive game of the year on March 26 when the Warriors resume their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with a tough trip to former African champions Egypt.

SQUAD

Washington Arubi, Maxwell Nyamupanedengu, Artwell Mukandi, Denver Mukamba, Gilbert Mapemba, Archie Gutu, Abbas Amidu, Tafadzwa Rusike, Khama Billiat, Matthew Rusike, Lincoln Zvasiya, Simba Sithole, Knowledge Musona, Quincy Antipas, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Partson Jaure, Ocean Mushure, Nicholas Guyo, Silas Songani, Ronald Chitiyo, Rodreck Mutuma, Peter Moyo, Masimba Mambare. - Godknows Matarutse

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