UK-based players blow for Mapeza

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The United Kingdom-based Warriors stars will now only take part in only one of the World Cup qualifiers against Ghana, it has been confirmed.

Zimbabwe take on Ghana in a crucial Group G double-header, starting with an away clash in Cape Coast on Saturday, before the return-leg at the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday.

The participation of United Kingdom-based players in both games was dependent on negotiations between FIFA and clubs in that country, since Zimbabwe is on the Boris Johnson-led government’s Covid-19 ‘Red List’.

The UK government gave the green-light for fully-vaccinated players to attend games in countries on the Red List, an arrangement Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba and AFC Bournemouth’s Jordan Zemura were set to benefit from and take part in the fixture in Harare.

However, there are certain conditions which should come with that arrangement; the players are supposed to return to the United Kingdom in a private jet and also quarantine upon arrival and also not interact with their families.

Team Manager Wellington Mpandare confirmed that the four UK-based players; Nakamba, Zemura, Brendan Galloway and Tendayi Darikwa, will only play in the away game in Ghana and return to their bases because unlike Zimbabwe, the West African country is not on that list.

“No joy on the UK-based players, they will only play the away game,” he said.

Whether or not that arrangement will also affect Ghana depends on if the Ghana Football Association can afford to hire a private jet to ferry their UK-based continent from Harare to the UK, after Tuesday’s game.