Former Warriors captain and midfielder, Willard Katsande, who quit international football after the Zimbabwe senior national team’s exit from the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon, has picked Danny “Deco” Phiri as his preferred successor. BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Kaizer Chiefs defensive midfield stalwart believes Phiri possesses the right attributes to succeed him and he sees a lot of potential in the Warriors going forward.
“I think Danny Phiri should take over the armband. He is there to lead the team going forward. The team has great potential to do well in future,” he said yesterday.
Phiri played a crucial role for Zimbabwe in qualifying for the Afcon finals and he also played well in Zimbabwe’s 2-all draw against Algeria.
He missed the second match against Senegal due to a knee injury, but returned to feature in the last Group match against Tunisia.
Zimbabwe were knocked out in the group stages after finishing bottom of Group B with a single point to show for their efforts and soon after their last match against Tunisia last week, Katsande announced his retirement from international football.
Warriors coach, Kalisto Pasuwa bemoaned Phiri’s absence in the Senegal match, where Zimbabwe were overrun in midfield.
Katsande believes at 31, he now represents the past and that it is time for him to hand over the armband to give a chance to others.
He became the second captain to lead the national team to Afcon finals after the legendary Peter Ndlovu, who guided the Warriors to their maiden appearance in Tunisia in 2004 and then Egypt (2006).
Ndlovu later handed over the armband to Benjani Mwaruwari, who tried without success to lead Zimbabwe to the continental soccer showcase. When Katsande took over the armband from Carrington Nyadombo in 2014, he proved his leadership qualities when he led the Warriors to their first Afcon finals in a decade.
The Warriors failed to go beyond the group stages just like their predecessors in 2004 and 2006.
Katsande made his debut for Zimbabwe in 2010 after impressing national team selectors while on the books of Gunners FC.
He has gone on to make 19 appearances for his country, scoring three goals.
Katsande featured prominently for the Warriors during the 2012 Afcon qualifiers, to which Zimbabwe failed to qualify.