Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
DENVER Mukamba’S redemption went a notch higher yesterday when he received a call-up to join the Warriors squad set to leave for Namibia today for an Africa Nations Championship qualifier in Windhoek on Sunday.
The former national team skipper, during the days of German coach Klaus Dieter-Pagels a few years ago, was one of the last-minute additions by interim coach Sunday Chidzambwa in the squad of 18 for the CHAN qualifier.
The Warriors, who had a bye in the first round, will battle the Brave Warriors of Namibia at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek this Sunday. The team is expected to leave at 1pm today aboard an Air Namibia flight. Chidzambwa announced yesterday he turned to Mukamba after Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo pulled out because of a family problem.
The Dynamos midfielder had struggled with his game on his return to the Glamour Boys from South Africa last season amid reports he was also abusing alcohol. But Mukamba appears to have worked hard to find his touch with some good performances for the Glamour Boys in recent weeks.
Dynamos assistant coach Biggie Zuze yesterday said the midfielder deserved the call after he had invested a lot of time and energy into his game. “I think this is good for him. He has been working very hard on his game and the fruits have been showing on the pitch of late.
“Denver is a talented player, but I think he had found it difficult in adjusting to a lot of things that had been happening around him following his return from South Africa. “A lot of things, negative and unfounded, were written about him on social media and obviously those attacks were bound to affect his game.
“But through talking to him and encouraging him to maintain his focus and work hard every time, I think he has been able to come back. “Being called to the national team is a sign that your work is being appreciated and I am sure it will be a big motivation to him,” said Zuze.
Mukamba’s inclusion brings to four the number of Dynamos players in the squad after their skipper Ocean Mushure, Obey Mwerahari and Emmanuel Mandiranga.
Chidzambwa also called up Yadah defenders Jimmy Dzingai and Dennis Dauda to mend his defence which he felt conceded more than he had expected at the COSAFA Castle Cup in South Africa.
Big striker Francesco Zekumbawira was also roped in following the injury to Ngezi Platinum’s Terrence Dzvukamanja. Chitiyo, who has been enjoying good form with CAPS United in the Champions League, will be sorely missed.
“Ronald Chitiyo has pulled out of the squad. I think his father collapsed last night. So the father is critically ill and he is attending to the father’s illness. So we thought of calling Denver Mukamba,” said Chidzambwa.
“I think we have called equally good players as those who are playing outside the country. If you look at our squad it’s reasonably a good squad and I think we have a very good team.
“But looking at our squad and also how we played in the COSAFA tournament, I think the area of concern is the defence and we have called in two other defenders who didn’t travel to the tournament who are Dauda and Dzingai from Yadah. “I think they are not bad defenders and we also have to work on them so that we rectify those problems that we saw at the COSAFA tournament.”
Dzingai, the Yadah captain, has been one of the stand-out players in the domestic Premiership this season. The Warriors had two training sessions at the Yadah Complex where they have been camped.
Chicken Inn left-back Divine Lunga was the only player yet to report foe camp after he was called in to replace Honest Moyo who is currently in South Africa for trials.
Goalkeepers: Takabva Mawaya (Ngezi Platinum), Herbert Rusawo (Black Rhinos)
Defenders: Obey Mwerahari (Dynamos), Devine Lunga (Chicken Inn), Jimmy Dzingai (Yadah FC), Dennis Dauda (Yadah), Jimmy Tigere (Harare City)
Midfielders: Ocean Mushure (Dynamos), Moses Muchenje (CAPS United), Gerald Takwara (FC Platinum), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum), Talent Chawapihwa (FC Platinum), Emmanuel Mandiranga (Dynamos), Raphael Manuvire (ZPC Kariba), Denver Mukamba (Dynamos)
Strikers: Abbas Amidu (CAPS United), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Francesco Zekumbawira (ZPC Kariba)