FORMER Dynamos defender Victor Kamhuka has been called into the Warriors camp after the withdrawal of United States-based duo of goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva and defender Tendai Jirira.

BY HENRY MHARA

Zimbabwe will play Algeria in back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) group H qualifiers between November 12 and 16.

The first match is set for the Stade du 5 Juillet 1962 in Algiers on Thursday before the return fixture at the National Sports Stadium in Harare four days later.

Kamhuka, now based in Myanmar, is a replacement for Jirira who failed to get clearance from the United States government to travel because of the coronavirus regulations.

Mkuruva, who was set to make a return to the team since 2017, has also been affected, and will not make the trip to Algiers.

Warriors general manager Wellington Mupandare confirmed that the big defender, who plays for top-flight side Ayeyawady United, has been roped into the squad by coach Zdravko Logarušić.

“The coach has said he wants to assess him so he has been called in. If he impresses he will be included in the squad,” Mupandare said.

Kamhuka, who moved to Myanmar last year, is in the country and has joined five players already in camp.

Mupandare said there won’t be a replacement for Mkuruva, leaving Elvis Chipezeze and Talbert Shumba to tussle for the number one jersey.

The inclusion of Kamhuka, who plays in what many consider an obscure league is, however, likely to divide opinion among the Warriors supporters.

A section of supporters has already raised questions over the inclusion of some players including vice-captain Ovidy Karuru who is currently clubless after leaving a modest South African club, Stellenbosch.

Some have also questioned the inclusion of Jirira who plays for Detroit City in the third tier league in the US.

Logarušić has also given first national team call-up to the England-based defending duo of Jordan Zemura and Adam Chicksen.

Striker David Moyo, who previously featured for the team in a friendly match, has also been called and will be looking to make his first appearance in a competitive match.

Five players who had already joined camp by yesterday are Karuru, Chipezeze, Devine Lunga, King Nadolo and Alec Mudimu.

The majority are expected to arrive today ahead of the trip tomorrow night, posing a huge problem for Logarušić who will not have enough time to assess the players. It will be the Croat’s first competitive assignment since taking over the Warriors’ top job last year.

Zimbabwe are second going into the third Group H qualifier on Thursday with four points, two behind log leaders Algeria. Botswana with one point are third while Zambia anchor the group with zero points.

Two top teams from the group will qualify for the finals next year.

Warriors squad:

Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze, Talbert Shumba

Defenders: Jimmy Dzingai, Alec Mudimu, Jordan Zemura, Teenage Hadebe, Divine Lunga, Tendai Darikwa, Adam Chicksen

Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi, Ovidy Karuru, Butholezwe Ncube, Tafadzwa Rusike, Kuda Mahachi, Knowledge Musona, Terrence Dzvukamanja, King Nadolo, Marvellous Nakamba, Khama Billiart

Strikers: Tino Kadewere, David Moyo, Prince Dube.

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