Katsande bounces back

HARARE - Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande has come out of international retirement to make the Warriors’ provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Liberia next month.

The former Warriors skipper had called time on his international career in the aftermath of the Warriors’ dismal performance at the 2017 Afcon finals in Gabon.

Before quitting the national team, Katsande alongside, forwards Nyasha Mushekwi, Cuthbert Malajila and Matthew Rusike had been fingered as ring leaders of a player revolt that resulted in national team players snubbing a send-off diner organised by then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Rainbow Towers on the eve of their departure for Gabon.

While the quartet featured at the Afcon tourney in Gabon, word was that national team coaches had been instructed by officials from the Zimbabwe Football Association not to select them.

However, the teak-tough Amakhosi anchorman has been in fine form for the Absa Premiership giants, and has finally decided to come out of retirement for Zimbabwe’s Group G second leg tie with Liberia in Monrovia on November 18.

His return will boost options in Sunday Chidzambwa’s midfield as Golden Arrows’ Danny Phiri is already ruled out due to injury.

The Warriors began their 2019 Afcon campaign under the guidance of FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza with an impressive 3-0 win over Liberia. 

Zimbabwe went on to register 1-1 draw away in Congo Brazzaville in their second group match before beating Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 1-2 at their own backyard while playing a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture at home to take full control of Group G.

Warriors currently top of their group with eight points from four matches while the DRC are second with five points with Congo Brazzaville and Liberia tied on four points after same number of games.

The Warriors need just a point in their remaining two matches against Liberia and Congo at home to qualify for the 2019 tourney.

A win against Liberia next month for Sunday Chidzambwa’s charges will seal qualification for the first Afcon tournament that will feature 24 teams up from the usual 16.

Warriors have every reason to believe now that skipper Knowledge Musona and defender Alec Mudimu, who both missed the last fixture against the DRC due to suspension, are back in the team’s fold for the crucial away tie.

Musona was red-carded in the 1-2 away win against DRC, while Mudimu missed the last game against DRC after picking up two yellow cards in the games against Congo Brazzaville and DRC.

England-based defender Tendayi Darikwa, who made his international debut against DRC in Kinshasa will not be making the trip to Liberia as he is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the back-to-back matches against Florent Ibenge’s side.

Dynamos goalkeeper Simbarashe Chinani has been called up in the provisional squad.

SuperSport United striker Evans Rusike returns to the squad after missing the games against the DRC due to an ankle injury he picked while playing in the MTN Final against Cape Town City.

Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare said the team is likely to re-group in Monrovia from their bases as a way of cutting costs.

Provisional Squad

Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)

Defenders: Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Talent Chwapihwa (Baroka), Marvellous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Rodwell Chinyengetere (FC Platinum)

Comments (2)

I would prefer to be recalled from retirement.

widzo - 30 October 2018

The team has done very well without him. I would prefer he stays retired so that he can give the young blood their time. He served us well in the past but it's better for the team and the nation if the man remains retired.

Reason Rumbi - 31 October 2018

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