Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
ABOUT eight Europe-based Warriors are doubtful for Zimbabwe’s back-to-back 2021 Afcon qualifiers against Algeria at the end of this month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Felton Kamambo revealed there are high chances most of the clubs in Europe will be reluctant to release players for national duty.
Kamambo made the revelations appearing before the Mathias Tongofa-led portfolio committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation yesterday.
And in an interview on the sidelines of the hearing, Kamambo said all Warriors plying their trade in Europe are a big doubt.
This means coach Zdravko Logarusic will have to do without the likes of Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Knowledge Musona (KAS Eupen), Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor), Tino Kadewere (Le Havre), Alec Mudimu (Sheriff Tiraspol) and Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF) among others for the Desert Foxes encounters.
“About eight players are doubtful for our match against Algeria because of the coronavirus.
“All the Europe-based players are unlikely to come and we will have to do without them. We have written to their clubs indicating we require the services of the players and we are waiting for communication,” said Kamambo.
Some of the countries have introduced travel restrictions to places with COVID 19 cases and Kamambo believes forcing the players to come would put them in jeopardy.
“Remember some of the countries have spelled out strict travel restrictions. There is situation that we might force them to come and it then becomes a problem when they want to return. In as much as we want them to come and represent the country, we might as well do with those available,” said Kamambo.
Yesterday, Algeria confirmed its first coronavirus death but did not report an increase to the 20 cases recorded so far.
Kamambo also highlighted the dangers the players will face especially that the match is set to be played in Blida – a town with most cases.
He said they have written to the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) asking for the match to be played at a safe neutral venue or be postponed.
However, some legislators of the committee argued that playing against Algerians is also dangerous and asked Zifa to highlight that to CAF.
The government has also given its position with Health and Child Care Minister, Obadiah Moyo, saying the Warriors should not travel to the north African country.
Minister Moyo said they are engaging all stakeholders spelling out the dangers of sending the national team to Algeria – an epicenter of the pandemic in Africa.
Zimbabwe travel to Algeria for the first leg on March 26 before the reverse fixture at a yet to be named venue three days later.
Zimbabwe cannot host international matches after its stadia were condemned by CAF.