Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
BRENDAN Galloway, the rising Everton starlet that Zimbabwe had targeted for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers double header against Swaziland next week, was yesterday called-up to the England Under-21 side.
The defender, who turned 20 yesterday, earlier this week turned down the offer by Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa as he was in line for the Three Lions youth side.
The Zimbabwe-born player has played for England’s Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 teams from 2012 to 2015 and is now looking to make his debut at the Under-21 level when they face Switzerland in an European Championship qualifier next week.
While Zimbabwe still hope of luring the youngster in future, it is increasingly becoming clear that Galloway may have made up his mind about his allegiance as prospects of playing for the England senior side keep rising.
Warriors’ team manager Sharif Mussa yesterday said they respect his choice but have not closed the door on the player.
Galloway and another England-based defender, Tendayi Darikwa, who plays for English second tier log leaders Burnley, have asked to be excused for the back-to-back Easter assignments against Swaziland but the duo could still be considered for future assignments.
Another England-based player Macauley Bonne is expected to communicate his position today.
“Those two (Galloway and Darikwa) specifically had asked to be excused stating their life situations and the circumstances at their clubs but they said they will still look at the future assignments for the Warriors.
“They were very appreciative that they had been called-up for national team duty. As for Bonne, he had indicated that there are some issues that he wants to attend to first and by tomorrow (today) we should have the feedback from him, whether he will come or not.
“The coach has not hinted on plans to make replacements. In future it also depends on the coach to call them again or not. But what I should make clear is that the door has not been closed on anyone. Players are called on merit and availability,” said Mussa.
Pasuwa last week named a strong 27-member squad which comprise 10 local players, nine South Africa-based players and eight from the overseas teams.
Skipper Willard Katsande leads Warriors squad that features familiar faces such as Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat, Partson Jaure, Eric Chipeta, Cuthbert Malajila, Matthew Rusike, Danny Phiri, Kuda Mahachi, Nyasha Mushekwi, Washington Arubi and Hardlife Zvirekwi.
A good number of players that featured at the recent Africa Nations Championship in Rwanda have been retained while invitations were also extended to Czech Republic-based Costa Nhamoinesu and in-form Vitesse midfielder Marvelous Nakamba.
Since the technical side had called up a big squad but with limited time for preparations, Mussa said they are not contemplating replacing the players that have withdrawn.
“I have spoken to the coach and there are no plans yet to replace anyone,” said Mussa.
“As you know, the game is on Friday so we may have to leave for Swaziland either Wednesday or Thursday, which leaves us with a day or two to prepare a winning team.
“The good thing however is that these guys have been playing for their teams and we may not have to worry much about those other issues such as match fitness.
“So we hope to make the best from the little time that we have and I am sure we will bank much on experience and exposure. These are professional footballers. We just hope that the combinations click,” said Mussa.
Pasuwa is aiming to collect six points over their opponents to bolster the Warriors campaign in the 2017 AFCON qualifiers.
Angolans Helder Martins De Carvalho, Jerson Emiliano Dos Santos and Ivanildo Meirelles De O Sanche Lopes will handle the game with South African Mayixole Elvis Channel Shishana standing as the match commissioner.
Goalkeepers: T. Mukuruva (Dynamos), D. Bernard (How Mine), W. Arubi (Pretoria University, SA).
Defenders: P. Jaure (Pretoria University, SA), H. Zvirekwi (CAPS United), E. Chipeta (Chippa United, SA), E. Muroiwa (Dynamos), L. Mhlanga (Chicken Inn), C. Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague, Czech Republic), B. Kangwa (Highlanders), O. Bhasera (Wits University, SA).
Midfielders: W. Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), R. Chitiyo (Harare City), M. Nakamba (Vitesse, Netherlands), D. Phiri (Chicken Inn), K. Mahachi (Golden Arrows, SA), M. Mudehwe (FC Platinum), M. Bonne (Colchester, England), T. Kutinyu (Chicken Inn).
Forwards: K. Musona (KV Oostende, Belgium), N. Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang, China), C. Malajila (Sundowns, SA) M. Rusike (Helsingborgs IF, Sweden), E. Rusike (Maritzburg, SA), K. Billiat (Sundowns, SA).