With Zimbabwe out of the running for a spot in the Play-offs, Norman Mapeza has taken the opportunity to refresh the national team. Mapeza will be using the World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia to prepare for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations and beyond.
“It’s all about assessment and building a team for the AFCON tournament next year. We also need to start building a team for the future,” Mapeza told ZIFA media.
The Warriors are rooted at the bottom of Group G with one point after four games. The poor World Cup qualifiers showing now allows them to get two training matches against good opposition.
Captain Knowledge Musona, goalkeeper Martin Mapisa, Turkey-based defender Teenage Hadebe, and midfielder maestro Marshall Munetsi are all injured. At the same time, red hot striker Tino Kadewere has been given time to work his way back into his club, Lyon’s starting line-up after a recent injury.
Mapeza has called some in-form players, including Ismael Wadi who has been prolific for JDR Stars in South Africa’s second-tier league, and young Tawanda Maswanise whose goals have already earned him recognition with Leicester City U23 of England.
There is no room for Talbert Shumba and Washington Arubi. Tymon Mvula and Donovan Bernard have replaced both goalkeepers. Bernard and Mvula have impressive for Dynamos and Chicken Inn respectively in the Chibuku Super Cup, making their inclusion justified.
Zimbabwe play South Africa at the iconic FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 11 November before finishing the qualifiers against Ethiopia at the National Sports Stadium three days later. It will be the last international match played at the giant National Stadium until renovations requested by CAF are implemented.
Tymon Mvula (Dynamos), Donavan Benard (Chicken Inn), Petros Mhari (FC Platinum).
Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic), Bruce Kangwa (Azam), Divine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Godknows Murwira (Dynamos).
Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Gerald Takwara (Venda Football Academy), Farai Madhanaga (Marumo Gallants), Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune), Tawanda Maswanhise (Leicester), Thabani Kamusoko(Zesco United), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Ismael Wadi (JDR Stars).
David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Macauley Bonne(Ipswich Town), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows).