Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS’ manager, Wellington Mpandare, was yesterday still making frantic efforts to secure birth certificates for the United Kingdom-based duo of Adams Chicksen and Tendayi Darikwa so that they become eligible to play for the national team in the upcoming Total Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Congo Brazzaville.
The match is set for September 7.
Mpandare said it was worrying that the ease of doing business was not being implemented by some bureaucrats to the detriment of the country.
Chicksen is a defender for League One side Bradford City while Darikwa plays in the defence for Championship side Nottingham Forest.
Both defenders are 90-minute players for their sides and were in action this past weekend when the 2018-19 season got underway. City beat Shrewsbury Town 1-0 and Forest were held to 1-1 draw by Bristol City.
“It’s shocking that we are struggling to get proper documentation for our own sons who are willing to play for their nation. In other countries such things are handled by government officials because they know their importance, but here the relevant ministries are only too happy to frustrate the system,” said Mpandare.
“The President is busy calling for the ease of doing business, but some ministers are throwing spanners in the works as if this whole thing won’t help the nation in the end. Here is a group of players that have committed themselves to representing their country, but bureaucratic issues are hindering that,” fumed Mpandare.
Sunday Chidzambwa, the Warriors’ mentor, said he will only be able to call up a provisional squad on Friday, but was also keen to have finality on his British Brigade.
“On Friday we ought to be calling up our squad, which we will later trim to 20 ahead of the trip to Brazzaville, but we are still waiting for feedback from the relevant authorities regarding those guys (British Brigade) that we have identified and are keen to have,” said Chidzambwa.
The respected gaffer has previously indicated that the bulk of his squad will be made up of players that defended the Cosafa Cup in South Africa, but did not rule out additions.
Players like Highlanders shot stopper, Ariel Sibanda, who has kept 10 clean sheets and his in-form former teammate Knox Mutizwa, who scored a spectacular opener for his Absa Premiership side Golden Arrows when they beat Mariztburg United 2-0 on Sunday afternoon, could find their way into the squad.
Zimbabwe lead Group G by a superior goal difference after their 3-0 win over Liberia in the opening game of the qualifiers in June 2017 through skipper Knowledge Musona’s memorable hat-trick at the National Sports Stadium.
Democratic Republic of Congo lie second following their 2-0 win over Congo Brazzaville.
After playing Congo Brazzaville, the Warriors will be on the road to the DRC on October 10 before the two sides clash in the reverse fixture in Harare on October 13. The last match of the qualifiers this year will be again on the road to Liberia on November 16.
The Warriors will play their last match of the qualifiers at home against Congo Brazzaville next year.
Group winners and their runners-up will qualify for the finals that will be held in Cameroon from June 7-30, 2019, and the Warriors will fancy their chances of making a fourth appearance at the continent’s flagship tournament, having first qualified in 2004 under Chidzambwa when Tunisia played host to the finals before the now United States of America-based Charles Mhlauri took them to the 2006 finals in Egypt.
It took a long and frustrating 11 years before they made it back to the finals when Callisto Pasuwa qualified them for Gabon in 2017.