Willard Katsande, Tino Kadewere return to boost Warriors

Warriors midfielder Willard Katsande Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Zimbabwe have been boosted by the return of former captain Willard Katsande and France-based attacker Tino Kadewere ahead of the trip to Liberia next month.

Chidzambwa's men currently top Group G of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with eight points, three more than second-placed Democratic Republic of Congo.

Victory over Liberia on November 18 would see Zimbabwe secure their qualification ticket with a game to spare.

Katsande has not played for the Warriors since the 2017 Nations Cup finals in Gabon, and his recall should boost a midfield which had its fair share of challenges in the double-header against DR Congo.

Kadewere on the other hand has just recovered from a three-month injury layoff and although he is yet to feature for Le Havre in France, Chidzambwa probably feels the 22-year-old can add some value to a forward line that has been crippled by injuries over the last few matches.

The 66-year-old coach has largely kept his squad intact, with Golden Arrows midfielder Danny Phiri missing out due to injury along with his club-mate Devine Lunga.

Dynamos goalkeeper Simbarashe Chinyani earns his first Zimbabwe call-up after a series of impressive displays, joining the Platinum duo of Kelvin Moyo and Ronald Chinyengetere as the only local-based players in the squad.

Katsande had been continuously overlooked despite publicly reiterating his readiness to revive his international career. The 32-year-old had initially flirted with the idea of retirement in the aftermath of Zimbabwe's disastrous performance at the Gabon Games.

Speaking to KweséESPN, Chidzambwa said Katsande's experience would help the team, especially considering that Zimbabwe would be playing away from home.

"Katsande is coming in to replace Danny Phiri, who is injured. But you should also realise that there will be a lot of pressure in the remaining matches," Chidzambwa said.

"For our next assignment, we will be playing away in Liberia and that increases the pressure. So we felt Katsande's experience should help the team. He has also been doing well at club level and we are happy to welcome him back."

Chidzambwa is also eager to give Platinum midfielder Chinyengetere another chance after his late Cameo in the 1-1 draw against the DRC in Harare.

The 30-year-old has been the standout performer in the local league with 17 league goals and seven assists to his name.

"I thought when Chinyengetere came on against the DRC he did well. Maybe we should have brought him on earlier. He showed some hunger, and besides he has been doing a great job for his club. He is top goalscorer in the league."

Zimbabwe Squad

George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)

Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates)

Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Talent Chwapihwa (Baroka), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Rodwell Chinyengetere (FC Platinum)

Evans Rusike (SuperSport United), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits)