Cephas Chimedza defends Musona’s inclusion

FORMER Zimbabwe international Cephas Chimedza says Knowledge Musona will always remain a key member of the Warriors.

He says he doesn’t understand the debate surrounding the decision to draft the Smiling Assassin for the 2019 AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia.

Musona is expected home today.

The debate about Musona’s suitability for the matches against the Zebras and Chipolopolo has spilled into Belgium with concerns about the talismanic forward’s readiness for the two matches. Although Musona has not played competitively for his club Anderlecht in the Belgian top-flight league this season, Warriors caretaker coach, Joey Antipas, drafted him into the squad for the battles against Botswana and Zambia.

Chimedza, one of the few Zimbabweans to score a goal at the AFCON finals when he found the target against Ghana’s Black Stars at the 2006 Nations Cup in Egypt, says Musona is an important member of the Warriors.

“For our national team he is important,’’ said Chimedza.

“Just like when (Thomas) Vermaelen was not playing (for) Barca but was always in the Rode Duivels (Red Devils, the Belgian national team).’’

Chimedza was responding to a report in Belgium which highlighted the debate surrounding the decision to call Musona for the two matches.

Vermaelen moved from Arsenal to Barcelona in August 2014 after the Gunners accepted a £15 million offer from the Catalan giants for the services of the defender.

He signed a five-year contract with Barca but he was plagued with injuries and was loaned to Italian side Roma.

After his return to the Catalan giants, he failed to impress and in July this year moved to Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

Chimedza believes the same treatment, which was given to Vermaelen, who continued to be called for national duty despite his struggles with his club side, should also apply to Musona.

The former CAPS United and Dynamos star was responded to media reports in Belgium. “At KV Oostende he was one of the star players but at Anderlecht he can’t even get out of the stands anymore,’’ a Belgian independent website, Voetbalkrant, argued.

“Knowledge Musona topped the charts at KV Oostende, but is not having a very good time in Anderlecht — especially under Franky Vercauteren.

“The Zimbabwean has not played a game for the Purple & White (Anderlecht) this season and is mainly filling his time with the promises.

“It’s a situation that is also closely monitored in his home country.

“In Zimbabwe there was even a debate about the footballer in the media because he was called up for the national team.’’

Yesterday, Antipas said Musona was the kind of player he couldn’t ignore.

“Knowledge is the type of player who can turn it on in an instant,’’ he said. “Guys like Knowledge, being around, he is the type of player you can’t overlook.’’

Meanwhile, Khama Billiat has explained what has led to the team’s resurgence this season and how they have managed to become the team to beat in the South African Premiership where his Kaizer Chiefs lead the race for the championship with a 10-point cushion. Chiefs have shown an incredible turnaround from last season’s disastrous campaign. Many people have been surprised by the note on which Amakhosi have started the 2019/20 season, after majority called for the sacking of coach Ernst Middendorp during the off-season.

But Billiat has outlined what has paved the way for this drastic improvement under the German tactician, which sees them topping the standings with a 10-point lead.

“I really need to give credit to our defensive line; our defensive organisation is something that we have mastered very well,” explained Billiat of his side’s impressive record of having conceded just seven goals in their opening 11 games.

“That’s why we don’t concede as much as we used to, or the easy goals that we used to, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

“We just started understanding each other better as players, as well as the coach’s philosophy. It took us a bit of time, but I think we’re getting into it and we really look like a team right now.

“We are a unit; we are united, and when you’re in a good space then everything just starts flowing very nicely.”

The discipline in defence is in fact not only in the back five — including the goalkeeper — but in the entire team’s efforts to track back in transition, and the Zimbabwean has admitted it’s something they didn’t quite understand the value in when Middendorp first arrived.

“I think it’s one thing we didn’t get right when the coach arrived, and we never really knew our roles or how to set up in certain moments,” he added.

“We’re starting to understand him better now, and things we thought were difficult for us have become so easy, and it’s through hard work and paying attention to details.

“So, everything seems to be working for us and we just hope that it will continue for quite a long time.” — Sports Reporter/Kick-Off.

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