MIGHTY WARRIORS striker Kudakwashe Basopo has been dropped from the national team and the 27-year-old believes other issues, away from football, triggered the shocking decision.
By Tariro Charandura
Basopo, who starred and scored at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was widely expected to lead the women’s national team attack during the Cosafa Women’s Championships, which come to life in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
However, the Black Rhinos Queens striker will be nowhere near the Mighty Warriors camp after coach Sithethelewe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda did not include her in the final 25-woman squad.
The grapevine has it that some Mighty Warriors players were uncomfortable with having Basopo in camp with the striker having confirmed to have been involved in a recorded lesbian act earlier this year.
Basopo, who regrets the widely reported incident and is now a Christian, feels off-the-field matters might have influenced the decision to axe her.
“It’s shocking to be dropped at a time when I feel I had given my best during training but I respect the coach’s decision,” she said.
“Everything was normal when I went to camp and if some girls felt uncomfortable with having me in the team then I think it was only going to be fair if I was told about it and not be dropped like I’m not good enough.
“When I went into the camp I was looking forward to representing my country but, unfortunately, it’s not going to happen this time and I just have to move on.”
Sources plugged into the Mighty Warriors camp alleged that Sibanda made the decision to drop Basopo without consulting her backroom staff as is usually the norm.
“Look the situation with Kuda is tricky,” said one of the sources. “She is a good player but that sex tape incident and her admission to having a female lover made most of the players uncomfortable.
“The coach made the decision and although she didn’t consult it’s easy to understand why she dropped her. The team should always come first and having Basopo was having a negative impact on the team.”
However, Sibanda insists that decision to drop Basopo was not influenced by the striker’s viral sex tape.
“As a coach I know what is good for the team and I don’t understand why there is so much noise about Kuda. I dropped her like any other player,” said Sibanda.
Hosts Zimbabwe have been pooled in Group A together with South Africa, old rivals Zambia, Malawi and Madagascar and Sibanda has certified her team ready to do the business.
“Our preparations have gone well even though we had a very limited time to prepare for the tournament.
“Ideally, I would have wanted us to play some friendly matches before the start of the tourney but that is not an excuse. We are here and have no option but to deliver,” she said.Goalkeepers:
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