Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) have followed through on their decision to omit Willard Katsande, Cuthbert Malajila, Nyasha Mushekwi and Mathew Rusike from the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Liberia next month.
The four players have been omitted from the squad for leading a protest against non-payment of bonuses, which led to the Warriors squad snubbing a send-off dinner with vice president Emmerson Mnangangwa prior to the start of the 2017 AFCON finals held in Gabon earlier this year.
Warriors interim coach Norman Mapeza has stuck to the orders of his ZIFA bosses by omitting the foursome from the squad that will open their AFCON campaign in Group G against the Liberians.
ZIFA labelled the players as mercenaries for insisting on being paid prior to the start of the tournament in Gabon, with the association’s boss being quoted as declaring that they will never play for the national team under his reign.
Ironically, all four players have been doing well at their respective clubs.
Katsande has been a reliable as usual this season at Kaizer Chiefs, where he has made the second most appearance of all players at the club.
Malajila has just won the Absa Premiership with Bidvest Wits, scoring vital goals along the way, while Mushekwi is leading promotion into the Chinese Super League for Dalian Yifang with eight goals to his name in nine games.
Rusike is also enjoying good times in Tunisia with Club Africain, where he has scored five goals in 13 games since joining in January.
Minus the four, the Warriors have settled on 11 players who are currently playing or have previously played in South Africa.
The non-selection of Polokwane City’s giant keeper George Chigova has also raised questions about the selection criteria which has seen players who haven’t played much football in South Africa being included.
Chigova has been in superb form between the posts at City.
All three keepers that were selected for AFCON 2017 have not been selected for the 2019 qualifying campaign.
Warriors AFCON 2019 squad.
Goalkeepers: Edmore Sibanda (CAPS United, Zimbabwe), Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders, Zimbabwe), Petros Mhari (FC Platinum)
Defenders: Denis Dauda (CAPS United, Zimbabwe), Partson Jaure, Qadr Amin (both Ngezi Platinum, Zimbabwe), Onesimo Bhasera (SuperSport United), Teenage Hadebe (Chicken Inn, Zimbabwe), Jameson Mukombwe (Black Rhinos, Zimbabwe), Erick Chipeta (Ajax Cape Town), Sydney Linyama (Black Rhinos)
Midfielders: Thabani Kamusoko (Young Africans, Tanzania), Devon Chafa, Ronald Chitiyo (both CAPS United, Zimbabwe), Simon Shoko (FC Platinum, Zimbabwe), Kuda Mahachi, Danny Phiri (both Golden Arrows), Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns), Marvelous Nakamba (Vittese Arnhem, Holland), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum, Zimbabwe), Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu)
Strikers: Tendai Ndoro (Orlando Pirates), Evans Rusike (Maritzburg United), Knowledge Musona (KV Oostende), Prince Dube (Highlanders, Zimbabwe)