Nakamba, Musona back in Zimbabwe squad for Afcon qualifiers

TWO CAN PLAY THE GAME . . . Zimbabwe’s Khama Billiat (right) tries to work his way past DRC defender Fabrice Ngoma while his Warriors teammate Marvelous Nakamba closely monitors the situation during last night’s game at the National Sports Stadium. — (Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda)

The Aston Villa midfielder together with Warriors captain missed last month’s World Cup qualifiers

Marvelous Nakamba and captain Knowledge Musona are back in the Zimbabwe squad for next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying matches against Botswana and Zambia.

Zimbabwe host Botswana on November 15, before meeting Zambia away four days later in their Group H fixtures.

Headlining the 32-man provisional squad named by Zimbabwe interim coach Joey Antipas is Aston Villa midfielder Nakamba and Anderlecht forward Musona who both missed the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers preliminary round matches against Somalia.

Nakamba had excused himself from national team duty to allow himself time to settle in at his new club Villa, while Musona was excluded under controversial circumstances.

This is the first time for the duo to return to the national team since Zimbabwe exited the Afcon finals in June.

Antipas has for the first time included in his squad 17-year-old Wales youth international and Swansea City defender Tivonge Rushesha who is however yet to switch international allegiance to Zimbabwe.

Charlton Athletic forward Macauley Bonne and Bolton Wanderers defender Adam Chicksen are also part of the squad but their participation is subject to obtaining Zimbabwean passports which they have been struggling to secure over the past years due to the country’s stringent citizenship law.

Midfielder Jonah Fabisch who plays for German Bundesliga II side Hamburger SV’s youth side, has also been called-up.

He is son to former Zimbabwe, Kenya, Benin and Mamelodi Sundowns coach Reinhard.

Antipas’ squad also features familiar faces such as Kaizer Chiefs attacker Khama Billiat, Reims midfielder Marshall Munetsi, AmaZulu‘s Ovidy Karuru, Tino Kadewere of French Ligue 2 side Le Havre and Turkey-based player Teenage Hadebe.

Current African champions Algeria complete Group H.


Zimbabwe squad

Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka FC, South Africa) Martin Mapisa (Velez CF, Spain) Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)

Defenders: Douglas Nyaupembe (Stockport County, England) Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba) Tivonge Rushesha (Swansea City, Wales) Cliff Moyo (Kidderminister Harriers, England) Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows, South Africa) Adam Chicksen (Bolton Wanderers, England) Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth, England) Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic, South Africa) Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey) Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids, Wales) Partson Jaure (Manica Diamonds) Kelvin Moyo (Chippa United, South Africa)

Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims, France) Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United, Zambia) Butholezwe Ncube (AmaZulu, South Africa) Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa, England) Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu, South Africa) Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United, South Africa) Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa) Phenias Bamusi (Caps United) Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV, Germany)

Strikers: Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City, England) Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits, South Africa) Prince Dube (Highlanders) Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht, Belgium) Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC, France) Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows, South Africa) Macauley Bonne (Charlton Athletic, England) Evans Rusike (SuperSport United, South Africa)