Weakened Zimbabwe squad named for Afcon

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Warriors coach Norman Mapeza and captain Knowledge Musona

Zimbabwe Warriors coach Norman Mapeza has announced a depleted 30-man national team squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals to be played in Cameroon.

The Warriors will gather on 23 December in Harare for a training camp ahead of the final squad announcement, set on 31 December 2021.

Mapeza made several changes from the team that competed in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia.

The obvious absentee was Khama Billiat who announced his retirement from international football in November, a day after the Warriors completed their World Cup qualifiers campaign.

Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Plymouth Argyle’ Brendan Galloway, Marshal Munetsi who plays for Stade de Reims and Wigan Athletic’s Tendayi Darikwa have also been omitted from the squad through injuries, while captain Knowledge Musona returns to lead the team.

Mapeza has included six uncapped players, quite a high number of inexperienced players for a big tournament such as the Afcon finals.

England-based forward Admiral Muskwe, who plays for Championship side Luton Town will finally have an opportunity to showcase his talent on the continental stage after missing out on the previous edition.

He is one of the two UK-based stars in the squad together with highly-rated left-back Jordan Zemura, who has been having a remarkable season at Bournemouth.

Tino Kadewere, who has been having a difficult season in France is expected to spearhead Zimbabwe’s attack.

The Warriors will be playing in Group B of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations where they are pitted against Senegal, Guinea and fellow COSAFA region side Malawi. Zimbabwe will open their campaign against The Teranga Lions Senegal on January 10 at the Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium.

Zimbabwe Squad

GOALKEEPERS: Petros Mhari (FC Platinum), Martin Mapisa (FC Zamora), Talbert Shumba, (Free State Stars) Taimon Mvula (Dynamos).

DEFENDERS: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth), Tapiwa Sibanda (Cranborne), Godknows Murwira, Frank Makarati (Dynamos), Gerald Takwara (Venda Football Academy), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Bruce Kangwa (Azam), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United)

MIDFIELDERS: Temptation Chiwunga (JDR Stars), Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Bill Antonio (Dynamos), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Never Tigere (Azam), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Shepherd Mhlanga (Chicken Inn), Ishmael Wadi (JDR Stars), Panashe Mutimbanyoka (FC Platinum)

STRIKERS: Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows), Prince Dube (Azam), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Knowledge Musona (Al-Tai), Tinotenda Kadewere (Olympique Lyonnais).

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