Strong South African influence in Zimbabwe's Afcon squad

Knox Mutizwa of Golden Arrows and Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns during the MTN 8 quarter final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows at Lucas Moripe Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Knox Mutizwa of Golden Arrows and Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns during the MTN 8 quarter final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows at Lucas Moripe Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

The extent of the chasing of top Zimbabwe talent by Premier Soccer League clubs has been brought home by the composition of that country’s squad for their African Nations Cup qualifiers later this month.

Of the 23-man squad that have been picked by coach Sunday Chidzambwa to take on the Democratic Republic of Congo in two matches on October 13 in Kinshasa and then three days later in Harare‚ 13 of them play in either the Absa Premiership or the National First Division.

Even the withdrawal on Tuesday of Evans Rusike‚ after the injury he received to his ankle in Saturday’s MTN8 final playing for SuperSport United‚ has not reduced the size of South African-based representation.

He is to be replaced in the squad by new Bidvest Wits signing Terrence Dzvukamanja‚ the Zimbabwe Football Association said.

There are even further South African connections with the coach having previously worked at Black Leopards and lead striker Knowledge Musona‚ now with Belgian giants Anderlecht‚ having previously played at Kaizer Chiefs.

Former Mamelodi Sundowns striker Nyasha Mushekwi‚ now in China‚ misses out because of injury.

Defender Kevin Moyo recently had trials at SuperSport.

Rusike’s injury has the Zimbabweans fearing there could be more players sidelined when the PSL clubs play on Tuesday and Wednesday and again at the weekend.

Beside late addition Dzvukamanja‚ the players picked to travel north to join their compatriots from Monday are Khama Billiat and Teenage Hadebe from Chiefs; Talent Chawapihwa (Baroka)‚ George Chigova (Polokwane City)‚ Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu)‚ Marshal Munetsi (Orlando Pirates)‚ Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic) and the Lamontville Golden Arrows trio of Divine Lunga‚ Knox Mutizwa and Danny Phiri.

From the NFD‚ Chidzambwa has picked Eric Chipeta of Cape Umoya United and back-up goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda from Witbank Spurs.

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