Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE will be without four key players when they get the defence of their Cosafa Cup underway in the quarter-finals stage in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday.
The Warriors, who flew out yesterday, will be without big goalkeeper and 2018 Cosafa Cup hero George Chigova of Polokwane City, soon to wed Kudakwashe Mahachi, who is on the books of Orlando Pirates, tired Danny Phiri from Golden Arrows as well as China-based Nyasha Mushekwi, whose season is still underway.
“Zimbabwe will have a pool of 30 players to work with in the three Cosafa matches to be played between June 1 and 8. The following are not taking part in the 2019 Cosafa Cup; George Chigova, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Nyasha Mushekwi and Danny Phiri,” tweeted Zifa on its official website.
Asked to explain the absence of the quartet, Warriors’ manager Wellington Mpandare said Chigova was excused so that the technical team looks at the other three goalkeepers as one of the three will start against Egypt in the Total Africa Cup of Nations opener in Cairo next month.
“As you know that Chigova is suspended for the opening game of the Afcon finals, it was seen fit that we use the other three goalkeepers in camp for the Cosafa Cup because one of them will definitely start against Egypt,” said Mpandare.
Other goalkeepers in camp are Chapungu United’s Tollbert Shumba, Baroka’s Elvis Chipezeze and Edmore Sibanda of Witbank Spurs.
Mpandare said Mahachi will be tying the knot in Bulawayo hence his exclusion.
“Kuda will join us around June 2 as he will be wedding, while Phiri asked to be excused for the Cosafa tournament so that he gets some rest having played a number of matches for his club and we did not want to risk him getting injured. I personally spoke to him about it, but he will be with us for the upcoming international friendly against Nigeria on June 8.”
“Mushekwi’s team Dalian Yifang asked that he be released on June 4 as they still have some games. He will fly straight to Nigeria and join the rest of the guys.”
Meanwhile, entry fees for the Warriors’ Total Afcon matches against hosts Egypt, Uganda and DR Congo have been released, with the highest ticket for the opener and Ugandan matches going for US$35.
The cheapest ticket for the two opening games will be US$9. Category One (upper) will cost US$29, Category Two will cost US$24.
For the DRC match, the most expensive ticket will cost US$15, with the cheapest going for US$3.