Tuesday Mar 09, 2021. 09:00
Zimbabwe national team official Wellington Mpandare has revealed their hope that the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers will be postponed, thereby avoiding major club-v-country issues over the travel of players.
As things stand, a team such as the Warriors is set to field severely weakened line-ups in their crunch AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia later this month due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Zimbabwe are highly likely to be without any of their UK-based players, such as Aston Villa’s Marvellous Nakamba, as well as French-based Tino Kadewere, amongst others.
This situation is set to be a major headache for coach Zdravko Logarusic, who recently named a bloated 38-man squad with this very issue in mind.
However, with FIFA having allowed South America to postpone their World Cup qualifiers later this month, Mpandare is hoping Africa will follow suit for the upcoming international window.
“As you already know Marvellous Nakamba and Tino Kadewere are out. Marshall Munetsi is also a huge doubt,” the team manager told The Herald.
“David Moyo and all the others who play overseas could be hard to get as well.
“But all hope is not lost though. We have been following events in South America and we hope that the qualifiers this side can also be moved to allow us a chance to field our best players or something of the sort.”
UK-based football coach, Philip Zulu, said CAF should consider moving the remainder of the qualifiers to a later date.
“The suspension of the World Cup qualification fixtures in South America by FIFA should be a universal global football template of the minimum crisis management procedure,” he explained.
“World Cup tournaments are measured by the presence of top players and, by using the same token on our AFCON qualifiers fixtures against Botswana and Zambia, we have to raise the same critical issues with CAF and FIFA to have these two fixtures (and indeed all the others) suspended.
“Logically, we have to get all our best players on board and this is part of our national thrust to develop our failing standards that recently plunged to 112 on the FIFA world rankings.
“What’s good for the goose, it’s the same for the gander, so what has happened to the suspended fixtures in South America is most welcome and applicable to our situation.”