Mon Jun 26 14:22:09 CAT 2017
Bongani Masondo quits 'Skeem Saam'

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Injury robs Billiat of opportunity to face Sundowns colleague Laffor in Afcon clash

By Mark Gleeson | 2017-06-05 16:43:09.0

Khama Billiat has been ruled out of Zimbabwe’s African Nations Cup qualifier against Liberia in Harare on Sunday‚ which means he misses out on a match-up with his Mamelodi Sundowns club mate Antony Laffor.

Billiat has been battling with injury for weeks and missed key games for Sundowns‚ including Friday’s loss in the African Champions League to Esperance.

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But Zimbabwe still have a large contingent of South African-based players in their squad for the opening weekend of group matches in the 2019 African Nations Cup preliminaries.

Willard Katsande’s retirement from the international game‚ which he announced at the last Nations Cup finals in Gabon‚ is confirmed as he was left out of the squad to take on Liberia in Harare on Sunday.

But 31-year-old Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United)‚ Eric Chipeta (Ajax Cape Town)‚ Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu)‚ Kudakwashe Mahachi‚ Danny Phiri (both Lamontville Golden Arrows)‚ Tendai Ndoro (Orlando Pirates) and Evans Rusike of Maritzburg United are all in the squad picked by caretaker coach Norman Mapeza‚ himself a former Ajax Cape Town player.

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Malawi have four PSL players for their Group B game against the Comoros Islands in Blantyre on Saturday‚ which is a first for new coach Ronny van Geneugden.

They are Frank Mhango from champions Bidvest Wits‚ the Platinum Stars duo of Robert Ngambi and Gerald Phiri and Limbikani Mzava of Golden Arrows.

There will be a meeting for former club mates in Ndola in Group K on Saturday when Kennedy Mweene is reunited with his ex-Sundowns club mate Dominguez (Elias Pelembe)‚ who captains Mozambique and has just won the PSL with Wits.

Edmilson of Cape Town City and the club’s brand new signings Jeitoso are also in the Mambas squad while Collins Mbesuma of relegated Highlands Park is also in the Zambia selection picked by coach Wedson Nyirenda‚ once a striker at Kaizer Chiefs

Mbesuma’s Highlands club mate Lebogang Ditsele and Wits’ midfielder Mogakolodi Ngele are in the Botswana squad to face Mauritania at home in Francistown on Saturday.

Botswana have been warming up at a training camp in Morocco and will play the Democratic Republic of Congo in a friendly before heading home for Group I match.

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Namibia’s both keepers are from KwaZulu-Natal – Maximillina Mbaeva (Arrows) and Virgil Vries (Maritzburg) – plus they have also called up another eight South African-based players for the weekend trip to Guinea Bissau.

They are Ananias Gebhardt‚ Denzil Haoseb and Henrick Somaeb from Jomo Cosmos; Wangu Gome (Wits)‚ Deon Hotto (Bloemfontein Celtic)‚ Willem Mwedihanga and Benson Shilongo (Platinum Stars) and Petrus Shitembi of promotion-seeking Stellenbosch FC.

Denis Onyango from Sundowns has travelled to Dakar to join up with Uganda as they prepare for their Group L qualifier against the Cape Verde Islands.

Burundi’s squad for their match against South Sudan in Bujumbura on Saturday includes Fiston Abdoul Razak from Bloemfontein Celtic and the Cosmos captain Frederic Nsabimana.

Defender Issofou Pare may have suffered relegation to the ABC Motsepe League with Cape Town club Santos but is still in Burkina Faso’s squad for their home game against Angola in Ouagadougou in Group I.

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Pare went to the African Nations Cup with his country in January but did not play because of a hamstring injury.

Joseph Okumu of Free State Stars returns after more than a year out in the cold to play for Kenya away in Freetown against Sierra Leone on Saturday. - TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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