Tadious Manyepo, Harare Bureau
Zifa appears to be softening their stance on players they had banned from being called into the national football team after they allowed interim coach Joey Antipas to include midfielder Ovidy Karuru in his squad.
The Warriors face Somalia in the 2022 World Cup preliminary round second leg tie against Somalia at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow after suffering a shock 0-1 defeat at the hands of the global minnows in the first leg on Thursday.
But it is the inclusion of Karuru in the squad to do duty in the second leg that has once again exposed the flawed decision to bar some of the regulars for the first leg.
Antipas was been under instruction from Zifa not to include the Amazulu midfielder along with Danny Phiri, captain Knowledge Musona, Talent Chawapihwa as well as goalkeepers, George Chigova and Edmore Sibanda, in his squad.
These senior players had been labelled mutineers by the football mother body following events which took place in the Warriors’ camp during the Afcon in Egypt two months ago.
Though Zifa insisted that Antipas selected the players independently, it had emerged that he had been ordered to leave certain players, including Karuru,who co-captained the team in Egypt.
But, following Thursday’s events in which the Warriors lost to a team which had never won a World Cup match, Zifa appear to have realised their mistake.
Karuru, along with ZPC Kariba defender, Ian Nekati, have been called up to reinforce the team which lacked character against Somalia.
Antipas said he had brought the duo to add depth to the squad ahead of this crunch encounter where the winners will advance to the group stages.
“We have included Ovidy (Karuru) and Ian (Nekati) in the squad to play against Somalia on Tuesday (tomorrow).
“We needed to put reinforcements in the team but at the same time we didn’t want to make wholesale changes for cohesion purposes.
“We are quite sure the pair will add value to the team as we try to outdo Somalia and book a place in the World Cup group stages,” said Antipas.
In the first leg, the Warriors lacked the creativity.
Nekati, who is good in defence is expected to play at right-back where Highlanders’ McClive Phiri struggled to assert himself.
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka), Talbert Shumba (Chapungu).
Defenders: Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor), Macclive Phiri (Highlanders), Peter Muduwa (Highlanders) Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids AFC), Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba).
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Tichaona Chipunza (Chicken Inn), Phenias Bamusi (CAPS United), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu).
Strikers: Clive Augusto (Maritzburg United), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits), Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City), Evans Rusike (Supersport United).