Warriors Afcon Woes: Can Dhigira Be An Option?

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Mugove Chigada

WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarusic could avoid experiments by considering former FC Platinum star Farai Madhanhanga as back-up for Marvelous Nakamba and Marshall Munetsi to avoid an AFCON disaster.

Zimbabwe will face Botswana on March 22 away before the Zambia showdown a week later, matches that Logarusic could miss Munetsi or Nakamba over Covid-19 restrictions.

Aston Villa’s Nakamba and Stade de Reims star Munetsi are automatic choices, but the rest of the defensive midfield options have not been convincing in the past.

The 2018 Soccer Star Finalist, Madhanhanga, who moved from FC Platinum to Bidvest Wits in 2019, was initially kept on the periphery before the franchise was sold to TTM.

He continued to train with the new paymasters resolving contract issues.

The midfielder, who can also play left back, has since started playing and his strong performances in the past two games have ensured TTM are no longer at the bottom, but well positioned to fight relegation. 

“When the team was sold, the contract became an issue and that required that I had to change it,” Madhanhanga told ZTN.

“It took long and the window closed before we could agree. We then agreed and I was registered…

“When the new coach came he started using me and we have won… I ‘m happy to be back in action as I try to re-establish myself.”

Although Madhanhanga is not the only good defensive or box-to-box midfielder, the options from local-based clubs could be suicidal given their lack of action or just training.

A coach close to the player, requesting anonymity, said the player is “battle hardened and not an experiment”.

“What happens with these players is that they already know each other well. They know the players that are so good and they even admit to each other that some just don’t have luck to go to better clubs.

“Dhigira is one of those players and even the star players in the Warriors team know that he is not ordinary. In fact, apart from his talent, he is tough,” said the coach.

The Warriors technical team was expected to officially announce the squad on Wednesday.

A provisional squad had, however, been leaked on Tuesday.

Southern Africa has been a Covid-19 hotspot for the past weeks now, and it is highly likely European clubs will be reluctant to release players to travel to the region.

Zimbabwe’s CHAN team’s poor performance in Cameroon and FC Platinum’s disappointment in the CAF competitions, is not a reflection of lack of quality, but effects of a country that has gone for over a year without local football.