DYNAMOS midfielder, Denver Mukamba is back in the national football team fold after he was called into camp yesterday by Warriors coach, Sunday Chidzambwa for Sunday’s African Nations Championships (Chan) qualifier away to Namibia.
BY HENRY MHARA
The 24-year-old former Warriors skipper replaces Ronald Chitiyo, who asked to be excused for the match.
“Chitiyo has pulled out because his father collapsed last night. He is critically ill, so Chitiyo is attending to that. We had to call a replacement, and we thought of drafting in Mukamba,” Chidzambwa said.
Mukamba, who last played for the Warriors in 2013 before his form dipped, arrived at the squad’s training venue at Yadah Hotel just after their morning training session to join his teammates, who are camped at the luxurious facility owned by Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries founder and leader, Walter Magaya.
This is the third time that Chidzambwa has been forced to alter his squad, after striker, Terrance Dzukamanja pulled out with an injury and has been replaced by Francesco Zekumbawire.
Left-back, Honest Moyo, one of the stars for the Warriors at the recently-held Cosafa tournament in South Africa, which the team won, has also asked to be released to attend trials in South Africa, and Chicken Inn defender, Devine Lunga has been called up as a replacement.
Chidzambwa described the withdrawals as major disruptions to his team’s preparations for Sunday’s match, set for the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek.
The team, comprised mainly of the players that played at Cosafa, who returned home on Tuesday night, regrouped on Wednesday evening and had two training sessions yesterday before their expected departure today.
“Our preparations are not as smooth as we wanted, but we have managed to have a training session this morning and we hope to have another one in the afternoon. But we have to get used to these kinds of situations, it’s not the first time that we have not had enough preparations. When we went to South Africa for Cosafa, the same thing happened,” Chidzambwa said.
Namibia had a mixed Cosafa Cup campaign, defeating Swaziland, drawing with Lesotho and losing to South Africa in the Plate Final.
The Brave Warriors have been hampered by a power struggle between the national association and league officials that has limited top-flight football this year to a cup competition.
However, Chidzambwa is still wary of Namibia’s potential threat.
“Namibia are not easy opponents, we watched them when they played in South Africa. They have a good team, full of running, so it will be a difficult match,” he said.
The veteran coach said, while the Warriors won the Cosafa Cup, there were areas they still needed to improve on if they were to beat Namibia and advance to the final qualifying round.
“As a coach, every game I play I want to win and the target is to get to the next round. We have called in equally good players; it’s a reasonably good squad. Looking at how we played in South Africa, the area of concern is the defence. We have called in two defenders, Dennis Dauda and Brian Dzingai, who didn’t travel for Cosafa. I hope they are going to rectify the problems so that we don’t have the same mistakes that happened at Cosafa.”
Goalkeepers: Takabva Mawaya (Ngezi Platinum), Herbert Rusawo (Black Rhinos)
Defenders: Ocean Mushure, Obey Mwerahari (Dynamos), Devine Lunga (Chicken Inn), Jimmy Dzingai, Dennis Dauda (Yadah FC), Jimmy Tigere (Harare City)
Midfielders: Moses Muchenje, Gerald Takwara, Talent Chawapihwa (FC Platinum), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum), Denver Mukamba, Emmanuel Mandiranga (Dynamos), Raphael Manuvire (ZPC Kariba)
Strikers: Abbas Amidu (Caps United), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Francesco Zekumbawire (ZPC Kariba)