THE Warriors received a major boost yesterday after British-born Tendai Darikwa finally secured a Zimbabwean passport which now enables him to play for the country, starting with a back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group G showdown against Democratic Republic of Congo early next month.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The two teams clash in Kinshasa on October 13 before the return fixture in Harare three days later.
Darikwa, who plays for Nottingham Forest in England’s second tier division, is part of the 23-man squad announced by coach Sunday Chidzambga on Wednesday for the two crucial matches.
There were fears that the right-back who was born in England to Zimbabwean parents, might not be eligible for the match, as he was yet to be naturalised.
He could not play in the Warriors’ last Afcon qualifier away to Congo Brazzaville despite being named in the squad, as he had not acquired the Zimbabwean passport.
However, Warriors team manager Wellington Mupandare yesterday said the highly-rated defender’s documents are now in order, and will be part of the squad expected in camp next week to prepare for the encounters.
“The issue surrounding Darikwa’s documents has now been finalised. His passport is now out and the player is expected to fly in and join the rest of the team in camp. In future, other players who have been called up should go to the embassies and fill in details and send them here. We no longer have any problems as before as long as the players follow this channel. In the case of Adam Chicksen, he filled in the form together with Darikwa but there were some details missing on the form, so that is why his documents were not processed,” said Mupandare.
The availability of Darikwa should be a welcome development for the Warriors team that has been crying out loud for a natural right back.
Eric Chipeta played in that position against Congo Brazzaville, and he evidently struggled to impose himself.
Chidzambga has gone largely with the players that he took to Congo-Brazaville, where they returned with a point.
Notable changes see the return of Marvelous Nakamba in the squad after he missed the last match owing to a knee injury.
Nakamba has not featured for his team so far this season, but is reported to have resumed full training and should be back in action for Club Brugge before the Warriors’ tie.
Czech Republic-based defender Costa Nhamoinesu is missing from the squad despite having returned from an injury lay-off and has been featuring regularly for Sparta Prague.
Ovidy Karuru, who also missed the last match through injury, has been recalled as has Yadah forward Leeroy Mavunga, who was on a trial stint in Portugal.
Orlando Pirates midfielder Kuda Mahachi has, however, been dropped due to lack of game time at his club.
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Donovan Benard (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs)
Defenders: Divine Lunga ( Golden Arrows), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Tapiwa Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Eric Chipeta (Cape Umoya United) Byron Madzokere ( Yadah Stars)
Midfieders: Marshal Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Danny Phiri (Golden Arrows), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge)
Strikers: Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Talent Chawapihwa (Baroka), Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht), Evans Rusike (SuperSport United), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows)