The selection of Elvis Chipezeze to keep goal for the Warriors has always been an unpopular choice among football fans since June 2019.
The 29-year-old Baroka shot-stopper made high school blunders which cost the Warriors in a decisive last group game against DRC at AFCON, a display which many have not forgiven him for.
He would keep his place in goal regardedless, as after the continent spectacle, Joey Antipas, who had replaced Sunday ‘Mhofu’ Chidzambwa in the Warriors dugout, preferred him ahead of George Chigova and Edmore Sibanda.
The current Warriors technical team, led by firebrand Croat Zdravko Logarusic, also named him in the starting eleven in the crunch tie against Algeria in Algiers last November.
Insiders close to the the Logarusic-led technical team however indicated that they named Chipezeze not out of preference, but simply because Tatenda Mkuruva, whose exploits are hugely-admired by the Croat, failed to travel from the United States, where he is on the ranks of Michigan Stars, due to Covid-19 related travelling complications.
Chipezeze was, objectively-speaking, to blame for the first goal the Warriors conceded, after he punched the ball back into play, for a glad Baghdad Bounedjah to fire home the rebound.
He (Chipezeze) would later on in the game be replaced by big Talbert Shumba, owing to a knee injury, a setback which ruled him out of the return fixture at the National Sports Stadium four days later.
When the provisional Warriors squad for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia was announced yesterday, perhaps one of, if not the biggest surprise, was the ommission of Chipezeze.
In fact, Logarusic named Spain-based Martin Mapisa and Mkuruva, despite there being no guarantee the duo will make it due to traveling complications.
The Warriors coach, with that in mind, still left out Chipezeze.
He hasn’t featured regularly for Baroka of late either. He was in goal for the Limpopo-based only once in the last five matches, making Loga’s decision somewhat justifiable.
At 29, and turning 30 next month, while competing with younger goalkeepers like Mapisa and Mkuruva, can this be regarded as the end of Chipezeze in the Warriors fold?