By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa
Warriors gaffer, Zdravko Logarusic has announced his provisional 38-man squad for the upcoming two AFCON qualifier matches.
The players will meet in camp at a date to be announced.
“Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic and his technical team have named 38 players in the Warriors provisional squad for the AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia in March,” reads ZIFA’s statement.
The country’s football mother body also said the senior national team coach indicated that the unusual huge list induced by uncertainty of some players.
This comes as a result of injuries and Covid-19 regulations imposed by different governments globally.
ZIFA also highlighted that the players’ list is usually made up of 28 players, 3 goalkeepers and 25 infield players.
However, due to a number of circumstances the number of players on the list have been stretched to 38.
“We made it much bigger because are facing a few [potential] problems. We don’t know what the situation will be in England, Spain and USA because some clubs have declined to release players because of Covid-19 policies there,” coach Loga said.
“Some of our regular players we played against Algeria are injured, particularly Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and Marshal Munetsi. We have more than 10 players who are in doubt.”
The Warriors are set to play against the Zebras of Botswana away on March 25 before hosting the Chipolopolo of Zambia at the National Sports Stadium, four days later.
Algeria are the leaders of Group H which consists of three COSAFA teams Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.
The African giants have 10 points from 4 matches, topping the group and have already qualified for the rescheduled AFCON finals.
The Warriors are on 2nd position 5 points behind leaders after playing same number of games.
The Zebras of Botswana are on 3rd position with 4 points whilst Zambia anchor the group with 3 points.
Nevertheless, the Warriors have a huge chance to qualify given that they beat Botswana in Gaborone and if Zambia fail to beat Algeria in Lusaka.
The ticket for the 2023 AFCON finals in Algeria is still open to all the COSAFA teams.
Things are looking gloomy for the former Go Mahia coach as some of the Warriors’ key players such as Marvelous Nakamba and Tendai Darikwa may not be available for the two crucial matches.
This follows after the British government listed Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana amongst high risk Covid-19 affected countries.
The new travel law requires that all residents who will travel to these countries will quarantine for 10-days upon their return.
More headache for Loga, the World’s Football governing body, FIFA indicated that it’s not mandatory for clubs to release their players during this period where the globe is fighting the novel corona virus.
Warriors skipper Knowledge Musona, forward Khama Billiat and defensive midfielder Marshal Munetsi are also a doubt after they picked up injuries while playing for their respective clubs.
Tatenda Mukuruva, Knox Mutizwa and Thabani Kamusoko have returned to the Warriors fold, after missing out in the previous games.
Zimbabwe international young goalkeeper, Martin Mapisa who turns out for Zamora in Spain was also called to the senior national team for the first time, however, defensive midfielder Danny Phiri still missed out despite recovering from a knee injury.
Loga hasn’t registered three points as a Warriors coach.
The Warriors were dismally knocked out of the CHAN tournament in January in Cameroon.
Loga’s troops became the first team to be booted out of the prestigious tournament made for the players who ply their trade in their domestic leagues, without a single point.
This time all eyes are on the 56-year-old gaffer who has decided to give other footballers a chance by adding five locally based players.
Reports said the former Sudanese coach selected those that impressed him during the CHAN tournament.
Ariel Sibanda, Carlos Mavhurume, Farau Matare and King Nadolo are the selected players who were at the CHAN finals.
Though, former Highlanders FC midfielder, Brian Banda was also selected after a series of good perfomance in the CAF Champions League with the Zvishavane based side, FC Platinum.
Below is coach Logarusic’s selected 38-man squad that was announced today by ZIFA:
Talbert Shumba (Nkana) Tatenda Mkuruva (Michigan Stars) Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders) Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF)
Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth) Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana) Alec Mudimu(Ankaraspor) Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor) Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows) Tendai Jirira (Detroit City) Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic) Brendan Galloway (Luton Town) Victor Kamhuka (Royal Malaysia Police) Romario Matova (NK Solin) Peter Muduwa (Simba SC) Carlos Mavhurume (Caps United)Shadreck Nyahwa (Bulawayo Chiefs)
Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims) Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa) Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu) Ovidy Karuru (Black Leopards) Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs) Tafadzwa Rusike (Zesco United) Brian Banda (FC Platinum) King Nadolo (Dynamos) Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United) Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United) Knowledge Musona (KAS Eupen) Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City) Tanaka Chinyahara (Red Arrows)
Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates) Tinotenda Kadewere (Olympique Lyonnais) David Moyo (Hamilton Academical) Admiral Muskwe (Wycombe Wanderers) Farau Matare (Bulawayo Chiefs) Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows) Evans Rusike (SuperSport United) Prince Dube (Azam)