Neshamba out of Afcon due to injury
MIGHTY Warriors poster girl Rudo Neshamba has been ruled out of the Africa Women Cup of Nations after she was omitted in the 26-member squad named by coach Shadreck Mlauzi yesterday.
The tournament begins on November 19 and runs until December 3 in Cameroon.
According to Caf, 21 players are accredited to feature for the women’s tournament.
Mlauzi is expected to drop five players before departure.
Neshamba is not part of the players who went into camp yesterday to mark the beginning of their training programme.
The 24-year-old striker has a chronic knee injury which she sustained while still in primary school.
She was supposed to go under the knife but Warriors doctor Nicholas Munyonga has prescribed a treatment programme which could see her heal completely.
Neshamba was the hero when Zimbabwe booked an historic place to the Olympic Games, scoring in both legs of the final qualifier against Cameroon.
“It is a major blow. Rudo is a natural goal-scorer, very clever but we have to consider her future, we want her in the long term,” said Mlauzi.
“We gambled with her at the Olympics and she was clearly not at her best so we didn’t want to risk again this time around.
“We have been lobbying for financial assistance for her to go for an operation but it has not been forthcoming.
“Doctor Munyonga has given her some treatment so it is only natural that healing takes place. We are going for a major tournament so we want all our players to be at their best.”
Three more players who were at the Olympics — Daisy Kaitano, Erina Jeke and Samkelisiwe Zulu — have been not considered for the Afcon tournament.
Mlauzi has kept faith with the bulk of the players who went to Brazil, adding a few new faces to the squad.
He has drafted six rookie players — Mwenezana goalkeeper Lisa Mpofu, Cosa Guruve, defender Sarudzai Chikowore, Sifundile Moyo, Happiness Gumbo, Maud Mafuruse and Sibonginkosi Nleya.
The Mighty Warriors will host South Africa in an international friendly at Barbourfields next week.
Interestingly, the two teams will meet again nine WARRIORS coach Callisto Pasuwa has again raised eyebrows by calling up half fit How Mine goalkeeper Bernard Donovan to the national team for the friendly tie against neighbouring Zambia tomorrow.
Highlanders’ central defender Tendai Ndlovu was also strangely called up as a midfielder, a position he has never played in before.
Donovan last played for his side in the 2-3 home loss to Caps United on September 25 before picking up an injury that ruled him out of four games against Mutare City Rovers, Triangle United, Highlanders and Chicken Inn. This then begs the question whether call ups are on merit or past reputation.
Donovan only started doing light training in the week leading to the Chicken Inn game last weekend and was on the bench in their loss to the Game cocks.
A premiership coach, who spoke on condition of anonymity “lest I be labelled a jealous coach”, said it was sad that third forces are allowed to influence national team selections.
“We know agents are involved in all this and it’s up to Zifa to put an end to this, but Pasuwa continues to do all this with impunity. We have players who no longer work hard to be called into the national team because to them, it’s their God-given right to be in there. How do you have a boy who has not been active being called up yet we have keepers that are in form, but are overlooked because they are not in the right camp,” said the coach.
Meanwhile, Hwange’s Gift Mbweti is set for his first national team cap after he was called up as one of the five strikers in the squad together with teammate Pritchard Mpelele. Veteran Caps United striker Leonard Tsipa was rewarded for his resurgent form together with Dynamos striker Rodrick Mutuma and William Manondo of Harare City.
The players are expected in camp today for two training sessions ahead of tomorrow’s encounter. days later in a competitive match in Yaounde.
Zimbabwe, South Africa, hosts Cameroon and Egypt are in Group A which will be based in Yaounde.
Group B has defending champions Nigeria, whose coach has gone for eight months without being paid, Ghana, Mali and Kenya. They will be based in Limbe. Meanwhile, the Mighty Warriors fund-raising dinner, which took place on Wednesday night at the Rainbow Towers, saw a number of companies such as Old Mutual, CBZ, Rainbow Towers, Nyaradzo, Telecel, Zimbabwe Cricket, the Premier Soccer League and Price Waterhouse Coopers purchasing tables. A car raffle has also been organised by the same committee.