All eyes were on Warriors technical yesterday for the announcement of the senior men national soccer team squad for the upcoming COSAFA and AFCON tournaments.
Coach Sunday Chidzambwa and his assistants – Lloyd Mutasa and Rahman Gumbo – did not disappoint, and named a relatively strong 34-member provisional squad blended with youth and experience, and anyone would agree the gaffer will have a selection headache when it comes to naming the final list for the big stage in Egypt.
Though he is likely to stick with those that played in the qualifiers, a few adjustments will be made to bring the number to twenty-three players.
Baroka shot stopper Elvis Chipezeze could see himself going to the tournament following an impressive campaign in South Africa. The 29-year-old who was overlooked in the qualifiers is likely to make it on the goalkeepers’ list along with Edmore Sibanda and first choice George Chigova.
In defence, the exclusion of Supersport United left-back Onismo Bhasera might have come as a surprise, considering some players will feature at the Cosafa Cup, but in Ronald Pfumbidzai and Devine Lunga, there is even competition for a starting eleven place between the two.
The absence of retired Costa Nhamoinesu hasn’t been felt also, Alec Mudimu and Teenage Hadebe have created a solid combination in the centre back.
The midfield is perhaps the most congested part of the team, and one cannot bet on who will make it, except, maybe, for those who were regulars in the qualifiers. Dreadlocked Thabani Kamusoko who played a blinder in the game against Liberia at the National Sports Stadium in 2017 returns to the squad along with in-form Zambian-based Tafadzwa Rusike.
Upfront, the lack of consistency among the centre–forwards, however, is likely to give Chidzambwa sleepless nights.
Of the total nine goals scored by the Warriors in the qualifying campaign, eight of those were shared by Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat, and the frequent absence of the centre-forwards on the score-sheet during the campaign is a concern.
The inclusion of Leicester City’s Admiral Muskwe and Dalian Yifang striker Nyasha Mushekwi will perhaps solve the overlooked problem regarding the centre-forwards.