Moffat Mungazi Sports Correspondent

DESPITE being left out at the 11th hour from the Zimbabwe squad which faced Malawi in an away international friendly last Sunday, Mutare-born Warriors winger, Phenias Bamusi harbours no hard feelings.

The axe fell on Bamusi as Croatian coach, Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic, tweaked the team after the bulk of the platoon from abroad could not make it for one reason or the other.

The fact that domestic Premiership remains in limbo due to the Covid-19 pandemic seem to have worked against the Mutare-born star.

This follows a lengthy lay-off since the conclusion of last season, which has deprived local footballers of competitive action.

For that reason, Loga had hinted that he would be forced to overlook home-based talent for upcoming assignments.

After frantically juggling the available pool of players assessed over two training sessions in preparation for the Flames clash, the gaffer pruned Bamusi, his CAPS United teammate, Ishmael Wadi, Stanley Ngala and Qadr Amini from the travelling delegation.

Zimbabwe were using the match which ended in a 0-0 stalemate to warm up for next month’s mammoth back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against defending champions Algeria.

With the exhibition match gone, Bamusi has chosen not to be upset about the missed chance.

“It is all part of the game (last minute omission) and as footballers we accept such things when they happen to us.

“Actually it was kind of a bitter-sweet experience as I looked at it in two ways.

“In the first place, that call up was a pleasant delight; the inclusion means a lot.

“It shows that I was being considered as part of the coach’s plans.

“However, being dropped at the end was a bit disappointing.

“All the same, I respect the coach’s decision and always support whatever player is picked because everyone cherishes being part of the national team.

“I have since put this behind me and will not allow it to draw me back.

“I am already looking forward to the next opportunity. I will always take that chance with open hands.

“This incident should inspire me to continue working hard and perfecting my game when the local game eventually resumes,” said the Dangamvura-bred footballer.

He added that his commitment to the national team’s cause is unwavering.

“I always stand ready to represent Zimbabwe whenever my services are needed because wearing the Warriors badge is truly an honour.

“Doing duty for my country is one of the foremost objectives of my football career” said Bamusi.

Zifa were all at sea in handling preparations for the Malawi encounter; first delaying confirmation of the game and then failing to secure most of the international stars.

As things threatened to spiral into a farce, the coach constantly changed the squad as it became clear that some of the short-listed players would not show up.

Key Europe-based protagonists like skipper Knowledge Musona, Marshall Munetsi, Tino Kadewere and Tendayi Darikwa were some of the conspicuous absentees.

The inclusion of some players, like Victor Kamhuka who plies his trade in Myanmar, was also questioned.

Goalkeepers Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum Stars) and Talbert Shumba (Triangle); striker King Nadolo (Dynamos); defender Ian Nekati (Chicken Inn) and attacker Wellington Taderera (Ngezi Platinum Stars) are the local contingent of players who made it onto the final squad.

With the Malawi contest now in the rear mirror, many are wondering if the match gave Loga a true reflection of the arsenal at his disposal for future assignments, especially considering that the coach missed out on those who form the backbone of the team.