Want-away Sundowns forward Billiat will have no shortage of suitors in Polokwane
Zimbabwe have named want-away Mamelodi Sundowns forward Khama Billiat in their final squad for the COSAFA Cup‚ but were dealt a blow when star striker Knowledge Musona pulled out with an ankle injury.
Former Kaizer Chiefs forward Musona‚ who recently made a move to top Belgian side Anderlecht from KV Oostende‚ had hoped to play in the tournament but had not recovered sufficiently from an ankle problem that meant he missed the end of the season.
Instead the striking department is bolstered by SuperSport United forward Evans Rusike‚ another former Chiefs player in Abbas Amidu‚ who now plies his trade in Egypt with Entag El Harby‚ Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF‚ Sweden) and Terrence Dzvukamanja (Ngezi Platinum Stars).
Billiat has not featured for the Zimbabwe national side since the 2017 African Nations Cup finals and makes a welcome return as he assesses his club future next season.
He has signalled an intention to leave Sundowns‚ and will have no shortage of suitors‚ though Brazilians coach Pitso Mosimane has said he remains hopeful of persuading the forward to stay.
There are seven South African-based players in coach Sunday Chidzambwa’s final selection‚ including Orlando Pirates midfielder Marshall Munetsi‚ Baroka FC winger Talent Chawapihwa and the goalkeeping duo of Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs) and George Chigova (Polokwane City).
AmaZulu midfielder Ovidy Karuru‚ who top-scored in the COSAFA Cup last year with six goals as Zimbabwe romped to the title‚ is also included.
It makes for a powerful squad and with Zambia having brought a weakened team‚ sets Zimbabwe up as South Africa’s most likely rivals for the title.
The Warriors face the winner of Group B in their quarterfinal on Sunday and then the victor of the clash between Lesotho and Swaziland in the semifinals.
South Africa begin their campaign on Sunday as well against the winner of Group A‚ likely to be either Madagascar or Mozambique‚ with Zambia or Namibia next up in a tricky semifinal if they advance.
Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs‚ SA)‚ Talbert Shumba (Chapungu)‚ George Chigova (Polokwane City‚ SA) Defenders: Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum)‚ Divine Lunga (Chicken Inn)‚ Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids‚ Wales)‚ Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Harare City)‚ Jameson Mukombwe (FC Platinum)
Talent Chawapihwa (Baroka FC‚ SA)‚ Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates‚ SA)‚ Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu‚ SA)‚ Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns‚ SA)‚ Richard Hachiro (Herentals)‚ Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars)‚ Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Chicken Inn).
Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF‚ Sweden)‚ Abbas Amidu (Entag El Harby‚ Egypt)‚ Terrence Dzvukamanja (Ngezi Platinum Stars)‚ Evans Rusike (SuperSport United‚ SA)