Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
GIANT goalkeeper George Chigova, who captained Zimbabwe to an historic COSAFA Cup feat last year, will not play a part in this year’s edition. The 28-year-old has been sidelined to give his deputies a run as part of Warriors’ preparations for the AFCON finals.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare said the decision was part of contingency plans by the technical team since Chigova was suspended for the opening match of the AFCON tournament.
He picked two yellow cards during the qualifiers.
Zimbabwe made a special request to COSAFA and were allowed to register 30 players for the regional tournament, which kicks off today in Durban, to help them use the stage in their preparations for the continental contest.
Coach Sunday Chidzambwa summoned 34 players in his provisional squad and has had to sacrifice Chigova, along with Kuda Mahachi, Danny Phiri and China-based striker Nyasha Mushekwi, who is only able to join the team early June when they travel to Nigeria for the international friendly against the Super Eagles.
Chidzambwa has four goalkeepers in camp and is yet to decide who will start among Edmore Sibanda, Elvis Chipezeze and Talbert Shumba.
“Chigova will not play the COSAFA Cup. Since COSAFA is part of our preparations for the AFCON tournament, the idea is to give the other goalkeepers game time.
“Remember George is suspended for the opening match against Egypt so it has to be one of the other goalkeepers to take his place in the match against Egypt.
“We have four goalkeepers in camp and, like what the coach said, players will be rotated at COSAFA and it makes sense to give these guys the game time in preparation for the big tournament,” said Mpandare.
Chigova was one of the shining stars at the last COSAFA Cup with his heroic penalty saves that helped usher Zimbabwe to the finals.
The Polokwane City man made three crucial saves from the spot in a post-match lottery to decide the tense quarter-final tie against Botswana.
The match had ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Zimbabwe needed another tie-break in the semi-finals after a goalless draw against Lesotho and the 28-year old took the centre stage again by stopping the first two spot kicks.
Source : The Herald