Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sikhum­buzo Moyo

FOOT­BALL fans have crit­i­cised the se­lec­tion of play­ers into the se­nior na­tional foot­ball team say­ing it de­mor­alises tal­ented and ac­tive lo­cally-based play­ers who are over­looked for those play­ing abroad ir­re­spec­tive of their form.

War­riors coach Cal­listo Pa­suwa on Thurs­day called up a 21-mem­ber squad for the dead-rub­ber To­tal African Na­tions Cup qual­i­fier against an al­ready out-of-con­tention Guinea at Stade du 28 Septem­bre in Con­akry on Septem­ber 4.

In a sur­vey by Chron­i­cle Sport yes­ter­day, foot­ball fans called on Pa­suwa to put the na­tion’s in­ter­ests ahead of per­sonal ag­gran­dis­e­ment, say­ing the Guinea match pro­vided fringe and tal­ented play­ers with the nec­es­sary ex­po­sure yet the gaffer chose to go for ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pa­suwa said he wanted to fin­ish the cam­paign with­out a loss, de­spite the fact that the War­riors will still fin­ish Group L as lead­ers, re­gard­less of the re­sult in Con­akry and Li­longwe, venue for the other group en­counter be­tween Malawi and Swazi­land.

“We have noth­ing to lose in the game, this is where we needed ex­po­sure for our lo­cal boys who are play­ing week in week out un­like these so called for­eign based play­ers, a ma­jor­ity of whom are bench warm­ers. Play­ers like High­landers’ Prince Dube, FC Plat­inum’s con­sis­tent goal­keeper Pet­ros Mhari and even Devon Chafa should have been part of this squad,” said Fran­cis Dube, a diehard Dy­namos sup­porter.

He also queried the logic be­hind the rest­ing of the Mamelodi Sun­downs play­maker Khama Bil­liat.

“He should also have rested most of those guys, es­pe­cially Ta­tenda Muku­ruva who also has not been at his usual best of late,” said Dube.

A lo­cal busi­ness­man, Nqo­bile Ngu­lube, said since the game was only aca­demic, it was time for Pa­suwa to throw into the fray untested play­ers who were likely to make it into the fi­nal Af­con fi­nals squad.

“This thing has been hap­pen­ing for some time now where play­ers with game time were be­ing over­looked for for­eign play­ers which to me de­mor­alises other play­ers. A case in point is Dono­van Bernard who was se­cond choice at How Mine but still found his way into the squad, it’s a very bad thing. Play­ers all over the world want to play for their na­tional team and this is why we have had some play­ers re­quest­ing for trans­fers so that they could get game time,” said Ngu­lube.

He said play­ers like Onis­mor Bhasera prob­a­bly last played against Malawi in June.

“Let us have a clean way of se­lect­ing and Pa­suwa must put the na­tion ahead of his per­sonal ag­gran­dis­e­ment. It does us no ben­e­fit to end the cam­paign with­out a loss yet not de­vel­op­ing fu­ture play­ers,” said Ngu­lube.

Sas­ton Moyo from Mpopoma said na­tional team coaches must in­volve team­work and con­sul­ta­tion not just scratch­ing one’s head and com­ing up with names.

“I think the best way is for the coach to con­sider other Pre­mier­ship play­ers be­cause they are all pro­fes­sion­als but he will have the fi­nal say be­cause at the mo­ment I am con­vinced that that is not the case. We have play­ers who have been giv­ing it their best but be­cause they play within our bor­ders, their ef­forts have come to naught,” said Moyo.

Than­danani Moyo from Ntabazin­duna said:

“In as much as we want to main­tain our sta­tus l feel this is the time to give other play­ers the chance to show­case them­selves. Not tak­ing any­thing away from those that took us this far. Maybe treat the game more like a friendly or prepa­ra­tion game. Also the idea to leave Bil­liat is a noble one”.

Les­lie Phiri, a Bosso fan, how­ever, feels Pa­suwa was right to main­tain con­sis­tency which helps the play­ers to bond.

“Hav­ing al­ready se­cured the ticket to Gabon, it is ex­tremely cru­cial for Pa­suwa to main­tain con­ti­nu­ity. This is not the time to as­sem­ble a squad based on per­for­mance but to build a team that will com­pete at Af­con. Thumbs up to Pa­suwa for do­ing that. He has not tin­kered much with the squad that se­cured the Gabon Af­con spot with a game to spare and that is great,” said Phiri.

Ken Chi­tonje from Hwange also felt the squad was fair enough and those se­lected de­served it.

Danny Phiri Sas­ton Moyo Fran­cis Dube Nqo­bile Ngu­lube Kuda Ma­hachi

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