As it stands, the last round of AFCON qualifiers will go ahead as scheduled.
Calls for them to be postponed owing to clubs’ unwillingness to release players due to the power they were given by FIFA to do so, amid tight laws introduced by governments in Europe to curb Covid-19, have so far fallen on deaf ears.
Zimbabwe will go into battle for a place at the continental showpiece without poster-boy Tino Kadewere, Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba (one of only two players from Southern Africa in the English Premier League), Stade de Reims’ Marshall Munetsi, Wigan’s Tendayi Darikwa, and Wycombe’s Admiral Muskwe.
The aforesaid players will not travel to Zimbabwe for the decisive clashes as they were barred by their respective clubs.
To make matters worse for the Zdravko Logarusic-led technical team, Khama Billat and Prince Dube have both been ruled out by injuries.
The responsibility of carrying the team forward in pursuit of the ultimate goal, which is to qualify for AFCON, lies in the hands of influential skipper Knowledge Musona, who has recovered from injury and also confirmed to be available when foreign-based players start trooping next week.
Such a task won’t be new to the ever-smiling former Kaizer Chiefs man though. Him and Billiat collectively-took Zimbabwe to AFCON 2019 by scoring eight of the nine goals scored by the team the entire campaign; Musona netting five while his ‘partner in crime’ chipped in with three.
He will be tasked with leading the team to what will arguably his last AFCON qualifier, since he turns 31 this year.
On the bright side though, Musona will have someone used to such pressure upfront; a certain Ovidy Karuru is available.
No Zimbabwean player has scored more goals in the DStv Premiership this season, than the lanky midfielder, whose resurgence after mounting critics when he was selected last time despite being club-less, is there for all to see.
If the ‘Masvingo Mosquito’ carries his form at Black Leopards to the Warriors, then we do have a massive chance of getting the job done.
His presence in the Warriors attack will be crucial without any doubt.
Go Warriors Go!