‘. . . postponement would be welcome’
THE Warriors technical team would welcome a postponement of the forthcoming Afcon qualifiers, but will not stop their preparations, a technical member has said.
There have been calls to have the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2022 Afcon qualifiers rescheduled due to travel restrictions around the globe.
A number of players – mostly based in Europe – in coach Zdravko Logarusic’s provisional squad have been barred from joining their respective national teams by their clubs.
The development means most Europe-based stars will miss the matches against Botswana and Zambia at the end of this month.
As if that is not enough, the Warriors camp has been hit by injuries with talisman Khama Billiat, Kuda Mahachi, Butho Ncube and Prince Dube battling for fitness.
And speaking to H-Metro yesterday, Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare said it is every affected country’s wish to have the matches played at a later date.
“We would welcome postponement of the matches because it’s really a blow for us. It’s a crisis because we are missing a number of key players due to these travel restrictions.
“So to be honest every affected country would welcome such an arrangement. But we will not stop with our preparations, we have already started looking into other options to make sure that we have a squad by the time matches come,” said Mpandare.
CONMEBOL – the governing body of South American Football – has confirmed that the two rounds of World Cup qualifiers scheduled in March will not go ahead due to same reasons.
CAF has been called to do the same since a number of African countries face the same crisis.
However, H-Metro Sport has gathered that Simba SC striker Perfect Chikwende and Al Hilal midfielder Last Jesi are the new additions to the Warriors squad for the Botswana and Zambia encounters.
A source said the coach has already started looking into options.
“Since many players will not be able to make it, the technical staff is expected to make provisions. “That’s why they have called in those two, expect more additions since there are more players still to confirm their availability,” said a source.
Marshall Munetsi’s club Stade de Reims are yet to respond on the availability of the midfielder. However, fears are that he might join the list of Marvelous Nakamba, Tendayi Darikwa, Admiral Muskwe, David Moyo and Brendan Galloway among others who are not travelling.
Meanwhile, locally-based players are expected to start camp on Friday