Ricky Zililo, senior sports reporter
WHILE their opponents are holding camp for their local players in Botswana in the penultimate African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier, Zimbabwe has yet to announce their preliminary squad for the tie.
The warriors will travel to Botswana on March 22nd before heading to Zambia in Harare eight days later.
These two tasks are a must for the Warriors if they are hoping to work with the H Group leaders and African champions Algeria in the Cameroon finals next year.
Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe all have good chances to qualify. The Warriors are second with five points from four games, while the Zebras are third with four points and Chipolopolo anchors the group with three points.
After winning for Zimbabwe in Botswana and losing to Zambia in the battle against Algeria on the same day, the Warriors qualify with one game left.
However, Zimbabwe's hopes of flawless preparations appear to have been hurt by the setback caused by the attitude of some British clubs to ignore requests for players.
The Warriors' technical staff postponed announcing the provisional squad as they were considering changes to the list they had drawn up.
After more than two weeks of waiting for responses from UK clubs to clear players for the two Afcon qualifiers, the Warriors technical team appears to be giving up the chase.
Wellington Mpandare, general manager of Warriors, said the team's announcement has now been put on hold.
"We are considering making changes to the preliminary roster list that was created. It has been two weeks since we sent out invitations and some clubs have yet to respond. We have been doing follow-ups every day and now is the time to make a decision.
"We are putting the roster announcement on hold as we may be forced to announce the roster with the players from Great Britain in the hope that something happens or they'll be left out completely by March 15th." This does not mean that engagement and negotiations will cease. We just highlight possible options, ”said Mpandare.
Due to recent measures to prevent the spread of the new Covid-19 variant, the United Kingdom has placed Zimbabwe and Botswana in the red zone of its virus among 17 African countries.
This means the chances of the UK-based Warriors contingent of midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, defenders Tendayi Darikwa, Zemura Jordan and Adam Chicksen and striker David Moyo flying in for the games against Botswana and Zambia are slim.
Of the above players, Nakamba and Darikwa were constant performers in the colors of warriors.
The unavailability of the UK players gives some local players the opportunity to be accepted into the camp. – @ZililoR