BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The squad, named yesterday, is made up of 12 Europe-based players, nine from South African leagues, one playing his trade in Egypt and the same number from Tanzania, while 10 locally-based players made the squad.
Zimbabwe has previously fielded home-based players for the regional tournament, but with the coach looking to also use the tournament as part of the preparations for the African Cup of Nations qualifiers to be held later this year, he went for the big guns for this year’s edition.
Most of the players who featured for the Warriors in the team’s thrilling 3-0 win over Liberia in the Afcon Group G opener at the National Sports Stadium last year, including Khama Billiat and Marvellous Nakamba, will be part of the team.
Ronald Pfumbidzai, who has been in top form since joining Bloemfontein Celtic from Caps United, has also received a call up.
Also included are Europe-based stars Tendai Darikwa, Adam Chicksen, Admiral Muskwe, Macaulley Bonne, Tinotenda Kadewera, Andy Rinomhota and Kelly Lunga.
Bonne had a good season for Leyton Orient in England’s National League, where he scored 22 goals for the club.
Czech Republic-based defender Costa Nhamoinesu, who has not played for the Warriors since the Afcon 2017 finals in Gabon, is set to make a return to the national team, having missed the four-nation tournament held in Zambia earlier this year due to travel complications.
Most of the Europe and South Africa-based players are now on off-season.
Warriors team manager, Wellington Mupandare yesterday said they were hoping that the foreign-based players would have got their passports by the time they leave for the tournament.
“We hope that those players who need passports will have secured them by the time we leave for the tournament. Already, Darikwa and Chicksen have been to the embassy to regularise their documents and the rest will be going this week,” he said.
Mupandare said the team would get into camp in Harare next Thursday and train for a week and will be trimmed to 20 before leaving for the tournament.
Zimbabwe, who claimed a record fifth Cosafa Cup title in South Africa last year, will start this year’s tournament from the quarter-final stage after receiving a bye in the group stages.
They will begin their search for a sixth title with a match against winner of Group B, which has Angola, Botswana, Mauritius and Malawi.
Hosts South Africa will take on the winner of Group A, which has Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros Islands and Seychelles.
The other two quarter-finalists will see four-time winners Zambia clash with Namibia, as Lesotho take on Swaziland.
This year’s tournament, which for the first time will feature all Cosafa 14-member states, is scheduled for Limpopo province from May 27 to June 9.
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Donovan Bernard (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Chang Mariyoni (Triangle)
Defenders: Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kelvin Moyo (FC Platinum), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Jameson Mukombwe (FC Platinum), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Harare City), Costa Nhamoinesu (AC Sparta Prague), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Honest Moyo (Highlanders), Adam Chicksen (Bradford city)
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Andy Rinomhota (Reading), Kundai Benyu (Oldham Athletic), Abbas Amidu (Entag El Harby), Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars), Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Singida United), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge)
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (KV Oostende), Evans Rusike (Supersport United), Macaulley Bonne (Leyton Orient), Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF), Kelly Lunga (Bonner SC), Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City)