Chinyengetere gets nod

HARARE - Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa has called up FC Platinum forward Rodwell Chinyengetere for tonight’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the National Sports Stadium.

Chinyengetere has been drafted into the squad as cover for the suspended Knowledge Musona, who was sent off on Saturday night in Kinshasa in the reverse fixture.

Zimbabwe won the match 1-2 at the Stade des Martyrs with Ronald Pfumbidzayi scoring the first goal in the first half.

Musona scored the Warriors’ second goal in the 68th minute but was then sent off by Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed with 15 minutes to go.

The Leopards rallied back in the dying stages and managed to get a consolation goal in added time through Yannick Bolasie.

A win for Chidzambwa’s side this evening in the match which kicks off at 7pm would guarantee Zimbabwe’s berth at next year’s finals to be held in Cameroon.

At the moment, the Warriors lead Group B with seven points from three games while DRC and Congo are on four points each.

Liberia anchors the group with a single point from three matches.

With Musona suspended for tonight’s encounter, Chidzambwa and his technical team opted to call up the in-form Chinyengetere.

The Pure Platinum Play forward is set to win the Golden Boot race in the Castle Lager Premiership as he tops the charts with 14 goals.  

“We decided to call up Rodwell because he is doing very well for FC Platinum,” Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare said yesterday.

“He has been scoring goals of late and it’s only right that we give him a chance and see what he has to offer for the national team.”

Speaking shortly after the Warriors returned from Kinshasa on Sunday afternoon, Chidzambwa also felt the referee Jiyed was too harsh on the Warriors captain for the second yellow card.

“It’s a very a big blow for us. He was playing very well. He scored a very beautiful goal; we are going to miss him,” said Chidzambwa.

“When he got the red card, it was about 15 minutes to go and all we needed to do was to try and keep possession but we tended to rush into clearing the ball while we should have tried to keep possession so that they won’t create any scoring chances against us.

“They (players) were very disciplined but I thought the referee was very harsh on us.

“I don’t think Knowledge deserved a red card — the first yellow card he got — but these things happen in football. We will just take it up from there.”

Chidzambwa was also impressed by the shift put in by Nottingham Forest defender Tendai Darikwa at full back in his first competitive match for the Warriors.

Darikwa had featured in two friendly internationals for Zimbabwe last year but had to wait a bit longer to earn his competitive debut owing to a passport challenge. 

However, the full back finally received his Zimbabwean passport last month making him eligible to participate in these Afcon qualifiers.

“He played extremely well. I am happy for him in that position he did very well,” Chidzambwa said.

The Warriors coach also urged the fans to come and fill up the National Sports Stadium this evening.

“I urge our fans to come in their numbers and also be disciplined, they must rally behind the team until the final whistle,” he said.

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