BY FORTUNE MBELE
Highlanders and Chicken Inn yesterday agreed to release Prince Dube and Joey Antipas, respectively, to the Warriors after initially threatening to hold on to them until after their league games tomorrow.
This would have seen the Warriors coach, Antipas, only working with the team a day before their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Botswana on Friday.
Bosso wanted Dube to link up with the team on Thursday morning as the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League midweek programme threatened to hinder the Warriors preparations.
Both Antipas and Dube travelled to Harare yesterday, but the former will leave the Warriors camp to preside over his team’s match against Mushowani in Bindura tomorrow.
Chicken Inn are chasing the league title and sit two points behind log leaders Caps United.
They could climb to the summit of the table with a win tomorrow, as Caps United only play ZPC Kariba on Thursday.
It was not clear by yesterday whether Dynamos and Harare City would be releasing their coaches Tonderai Ndiraya and Lloyd Chitembwe, respectively, as their teams have important league assignments.
Bosso coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh on Sunday said he needed his top striker for the league tie against Ngezi Platinum Stars tomorrow.
Dube is the only locally-based in-field player who has been called up for the Botswana tie, along with goalkeepers Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos) and Talbert Shumba (Chapungu).
“We had very excellent communication with the head coach (Joey Antipas) of the national team. Prince will fly to Harare after Wednesday. We agreed that after the game on Wednesday, we put Prince on the airplane on Thursday morning,” De Jongh had said on Sunday.
Dube is one of only three strikers that are in the squad for the two matches.
The other two are Knowledge Musona and Knox Mutizwa.
Musona has not played competitively since the Warriors played at the Afcon finals in June, as he has been involved for Anderlecht’s reserve team only.
Mutizwa has been enjoying a good run of form and he scored a double for his club Golden Arrows against champions Sundowns at the weekend.
Golden Arrows came from behind to beat Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2 at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban with the first goal coming from former Warriors’ skipper Danny “Deco” Phiri in the 61st minute before Mutizwa finished off the Brazilians with a goal in the 72nd minute and another from the penalty spot nine minutes before full-time.
He was instrumental in Phiri’s goal with a cross from the right.
The brace took Mutizwa to the top of the Absa Premiership scorers’ chart with seven goals, tied with AmaZulu’s Bonginkosi Ntuli, Highlands Park’s Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus of Cape Town City.
With Tino Kadewere ruled out of Friday’s tie against Botswana after suffering a hamstring injury in his side Le Havre 2-0 defeat to Sochaux in the French Ligue 2, and Macauley Bonne unavailable, Mutizwa is a prospective start against the Zebras.
Mutizwa told our sister paper The Standard that he wanted to make good use of the opportunity if he got a starting berth against Botswana.
“If I get a chance to be in the starting line-up against Botswana, I will use that opportunity to the best of my ability,” he said.
In his last game for the Warriors in a 2022 World Cup preliminary round second leg at the National Sports Stadium in September, Mutizwa came from the bench in the second half and scored a gem of a goal from a free-kick with two minutes to the end of the game before he set up Khama Billiat to ensure a group stages qualification.
Tomorrow: Bulawayo Chiefs v Hwange (Luveve), Mushowani Stars v Chicken Inn (Trojan Mine), Harare City v TelOne (Rufaro), Chapungu v Dynamos (Ascot), Manica Diamonds v FC Platinum (Vengere), Triangle v Herentals (Gibbo), Black Rhinos v Yadah (NSS), Highlanders v Ngezi Platinum (Barbourfields)
Thursday: Caps United v ZPC Kariba (National Sports Stadium)