Ndlovu dropped from Zim squad

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The veteran Brazilian coach announced the Warriors’ squad yesterday with the trio missing from the line-up.

Kawondera was one of the heroes of the 2006 Nations Cup qualifiers campaign and emerged top goalscorer in the run-up to the finals in Egypt with a tally of four goals.

Nengomasha’s form may have dipped since winning the South African Footballer of the Year Award four years ago, but he could have certainly added value to the team given his current form at Kaizer Chiefs if he had been called up.

But, it is the exclusion of Ndlovu from the squad which has become the talking point in footballing circles.

Ndlovu, who is in devastating form at his South African club Mamelodi Sundowns despite the fact that that he is now in the twilight of his career, had told the South Africa media that he wants to be part of the Warriors’ squad in the run up to the World Cup finals to be held in South Africa.

The most capped member of the Warriors was, however, missing from the squad which is expected to do duty in the crucial qualifiers.

Ndlovu, who has 100 caps to his name and the highest scorer for Zimbabwe with 39 goals, last featured for the Warriors in a 2008 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Morocco last year.

The Atlas Lions of Morocco went on to qualify for the tournament at the expense of the Warriors, who will now have to watch the football showcase which roars into life on Sunday.

It appears that the highly-rated Brazilian mentor who has taken charge of mostly youth teams in his lengthy coaching career has chosen to keep faith in teenage stars at a time when other coaches are preferring experienced players at this level of the game.

Most of the players called up by Valinhos are below the age of 24.

Among the players called up is the Belgian-based trio of Cephas Chimedza, Honour Gombami and Vusa Nyoni.

Nyoni and Gombami turn out for Cercle Brugge, who are third in the Belgian league, while Chimedza’s Saint Truiden is languishing in 16th place on the 18-team league.

The Brazilian coach promoted Under-23 young stars Kingstone Nkatha, Obadiah Tarumbwa, Costa Nhamoinesu, Onisimor Bhasera and Lionel Mtizwa to the senior national team, although all have had a dance or two with the senior team in the past.

Regular goalkeepers Tapuwa Kapini, Washington Arubi (who is reported to be on Orlando Pirates’ wanted list) and Tafadzwa Dube have all received call-ups in the past, together with Cyprus-based Noel Kaseke, Gilbert Banda, Method Mwanjali, skipper Benjani Mwaruwari and Sundowns’ Esrom Nyandoro.

Zimbabwe begins its campaign for a maiden appearance at the 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations with an away tie against Guinea on the weekend of May 31 to June 2.

Zimbabwe will also face Namibia in Harare on the weekend of June 6-7. Two weeks later, on June 16-18, the Warriors will be off to Nairobi, Kenya, before playing the return leg of that fixture in Harare a week later. The last match will be an October 17-19 clash against Guinea at home.

Warriors Squad:

Goalkeepers: Tapuwa Kapini (Platinum Stars, South Africa), Washington Arubi (Highlanders), Tafadzwa Dube (Masvingo).

Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu (Masvingo), Zvenyika Makonese (Santos, South Africa), James Matola (Free State Stars, South Africa), Noel Kaseke (Omonia, Cyprus), Onismor Bhasera (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa), Gilbert Banda (Highlanders), Method Mwanjali (CAPS United), Thomas Sweswe (Dynamos).

Midfielders: Esrom Nyandoro (Sundowns, South Africa), Mtshumayeli Moyo (Shooting Stars), Honour Gombami (Cercle Brugge, Belgium), Vusa Nyoni (Cercle Brugge, Belgium), Cephas Chimedza (Sint Truiden, Belgium), Lionel Mtizwa (CAPS United), Edward Sadomba (Dynamos), Clemence Matawu (Motor Action), Justice Majabvi (unattached).

Strikers: Benjani Mwaruwari (Portsmouth, England), Musa Mguni (Omonia, Cyprus), Ralph Matema (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Obadiah Tarumbwa (Highlanders), Kingstone Nkatha (Free State Stars).

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