Head, Zimpapers Sport
WARRIORS interim coach, Brito Baltemar, has come up with a largely untested squad, including a player who has only featured for 12 minutes, for back-to-back 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda and Nigeria in Kigali in a fortnight.
The 28-member squad seems selected more on history and potential than current form, with 20 of the players based abroad.
Eight locally-based players have come from Dynamos (Frank Mukarati, Tanaka Shandirwa), Highlanders (Peter Muduhwa, Andrew Mbeba), FC Platinum (Brian Banda, Walter Musona), Chicken Inn (Donovan Bernard) and Bulawayo Chiefs (Obriel Chirinda).
There are only two players from the South African Premiership, goalkeeper Washington Arubi (SuperSport United) and striker Terrence Dzvukamanja (SuperSport United) while defender Teenage Hadebe will be coming from the USA.
Nine players are based in England, including Marvellous Nakamba (Luton), Marley Tavaziva (Brentford), Andy Rinomhota (Cardiff City), Isaac Mabaya (Liverpool), Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Tivonge Rushesha (Reading), Admiral Muskwe (Exeter City), Leon Chiwome (Wolves) and Tawanda Maswanhise (Leicester City).
The other six are in European leagues including goalkeeper Martin Mapisa (Malaga), Tendayi Darikwa (Apolon Limassol), Munashe Garan’anga (Sheriff Tiraspol), Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Jordan Zemura (Udinese), Tinotenda Kadewere (Lyon),
Gerard Takwara will be expected from Saudi Arabia while Prince Dube is based in Tanzania with Azam.
A number of the players have not been regulars at their respective clubs meaning the selection was not based on current form.
l RINOMHOTA 12 MINUTES IN 3 MONTHS
Cardiff City still refer to Rinomhota as an England national on their official website and many other football related sites.
The 26-year-old midfielder has not been involved much in the club’s Championship matches in the 2023/2024 season.
In fact, he has played just 12 minutes in one appearance where he was a substitute way back on August 6 in a season opener against Leeds United.
Cardiff have since played 13 Championship matches without Rinomhota but he has been deemed good enough for the Warriors.
l ISAAC MABAYA 3 GAMES IN UNDER-21 LEAGUE
The 19-year-old is in the Liverpool Under 21 squad and has played in three matches out of seven of the 2023-24 English Premier League 2 Division 1. Just like Rinomhota, Mabaya is currently listed as an English citizen.
l MARLEY TAVAZIVA
Marley Tavaziva joined Brentford B on a two-year scholarship in the summer of 2022. Brentford have him as an English citizen on their official website as well as the Premier League site.
He currently has 0 appearances for this season in the Premier League.
l TIVONGE RUSHESHA 4 STARTS IN 14 MATCHES
The 21-year-old joined Reading in the English third tier, League One on an initial one-year contract, with an option for a year extension, after being heavily involved in preparations ahead of the start of the 2023-24 season. He is listed as a Welsh national although born in Zimbabwe.
He has made seven appearances out of their 14 league matches so far, making four starts and 336 minutes cumulatively and contributing one assist.
Reading are bottom of the 24-team log.
l LEON CHIWOME (WOLVES UNDER-21)
The 17-year-old Leon Chiwome has so far made just two appearances in the Premier League 2 Division One out of the seven played by the Wolves Under 21.
l UNLUCKY KNOX MUTIZWA
He was part of the Warriors training squad and scored the only goal in a 1-3 defeat against a Northern Region Division One Select last month.
On his return to South Africa, Mutizwa scored moments after coming in as a substitute as Golden Arrows beat Cape Town City 3-1 in a Carling Cup match.
He then scored both goals as Golden Arrows beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 on Saturday to move into second place.