Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS striker Prince Dube will fancy his chances of breaking into an international star-studded Warriors’ squad for the Afcon qualifiers against Botswana on Friday following the withdrawal of strikers Tino Kadewere and Macauley Bonne.
Kadewere, red-hot property in the French Ligue 2 where he tops the scores chart with 12 goals from 14 games, picked up a hamstring injury in his side Le Harve’s 0-2 defeat to Sochaux last Friday.
Bonne, who recently got a Zimbabwean passport, issued a statement that “unforeseen medical grounds” had ruled him out of representing the country against Botswana and Zambia in Lusaka next Tuesday.
“…unfortunately and reluctantly, I am unable to travel due to unforeseen medical grounds, which is a huge frustration to me, as it is to the people of Zimbabwe. I’d like to wish the entire Zimbabwe team the very best of luck in the coming game(s). In the meantime, I will maintain a line of communication to Welly Mpandare and Zifa representatives,” reads part of Bonne’s statement.
Warriors’ manager Mpandare said they will not replace Kadewere and Bonne. This means Antipas will drop four players, a goalkeeper and three in-field players from the 22-man squad called up for duty.
Dube will compete for a place in the Warriors’ squad with Belgium-based Knowledge Musona, Kaizer Chiefs’ Khama Billiat and Knox M’tizwa of Golden Arrows.
With Dube in the Warriors’ camp, Highlanders will play Ngezi Platinum Stars at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow in a dress rehearsal of the Chibuku Super Cup final without their top striker.
Bosso coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh had wanted to hold onto the striker, saying he had communicated with interim national team coach Joey Antipas to have the forward join the Warriors’ camp after their league match against Ngezi Platinum Stars.
“I keep very excellent contact with the head coach of the national team (Antipas). Prince will only join the national team after the Wednesday encounter. I’ve talked with the national team coach that we fly Prince to Harare after our game,” said De Jongh.
Dube, who has been a revelation for Highlanders, particularly in the second half of the season, scoring important goals for the resurgent Bulawayo giants, is one of the five locally-based players that have been called up for duty.
The striker fired Highlanders into the final of the Chibuku Super Cup final on Sunday, scoring a beauty when Bosso beat ZPC Kariba 1-0.
Dynamos goalkeeper Simba Chinani, Chapungu shot stopper Talbert Shumba, ZPC Kariba right-back Ian Nekati and Manica Diamonds central defender Partson Jaure are among the locally-based players in camp.
Castle Lager PSL fixtures
Tomorrow: Bulawayo Chiefs vs Hwange (Luveve), Mushowani Stars vs Chicken Inn (Trojan), Harare City vs TelOne (Rufaro), Chapungu vs Dynamos (Ascot), Manica Diamonds vs FC Platinum (Vengere), Triangle United vs Herentals (Gibbo), Black Rhinos vs Yadah (National Sports Stadium), Highlanders vs Ngezi Platinum Stars (Barbourfields Stadium)
Thursday: Caps United vs ZPC Kariba (Rufaro) — @ZililoR.