I have a feeling that had Knowledge Musona been stopped by KAS Eupen from traveling to Zimbabwe for this week’s decisive games against Botswana and Zambia, football stakeholders in the country would have cranked more pressure on CAF to postpone the remaining AFCON qualifiers.
By Lawrence Mangenje
The Smiling Assassin, unlike Tino Kadewere, Marshall Munetsi, Tendayi Darikwa and Marvelous Nakamba, was permitted by his club to take part in the impending battles, which will decide who between the Warriors, Chipolopolo and the Zebras, will join Algeria from Group H, at the continental spectacle in Cameroon.
With Khama Billiat, Prince Dube and Knox Mutizwa also unavailable through injury, one would be pardoned for thinking that Zdravko Logarušić’s charges are doomed- hence the need to have the games postponed.
The sensible and logical suggestion for the newly-elected Patrice Motsepe-led CAF administration to postpone the remaining two rounds of fixtures has been hijacked by glory-hunting ‘veterans’ in the local sports media fraternity, who as usual, want to be credited with anything good that has to do with the national team, even though they at times shamelessly-copy an idea, develop it, and then call it their own.
While the need to delay the games would have been welcomed by the football-loving public, the availability of Musona for the crucial games slated for Thursday in Francistown and Monday in Harare respectively, has awakened the belief that the battle can still be won despite Logarušić’s army not having regular soldiers in it.
The Aces Youth Academy graduate is no stranger to propelling AFCON qualification- he scored five of the nine goals scored by the Warriors in the 2019 qualifying campaign.
He has also been directly involved in four of the five goals scored by Zimbabwe in the current campaign.
It was Musona’s stupendous free kick against Algeria at the National Sports Stadium last November, which not only showed the world through Chris ‘Romario’ Musekiwa, that ‘ball boys’ can dance in celebration but also started what would be a remarkable come-back completed by a late Prince Dube goal, off a corner by the influential skipper.
Reminding Zimbabweans of what Musona has done in gold and green in a career spanning over a decade might win an award for time wasting activity of the year- everyone, including his critics who turbulent on him during that unproductive stint at Anderlecht, is aware of what he has produced and what he is capable of.
Against Botswana on Thursday, for the first time in a long time, Musona will not be expecting either a run or pass from Billiat but he is surely be the light which will come at the end of the tunnel.