Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS team manager Wellington Mpandare says there is no need to panic over passports for the British Brigade ahead of the start of the 2020 AFCON qualifiers next month.
ZIFA, through the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, have written to the Registrar-General’s Office seeking assistance.
Macauley Bonne of Charlton Athletic and Adam Chicksen of Bolton Wanderers have never carried Zimbabwean passports.
Jordan Zemura, who is on the books of Bournemouth’s Under-21 outfit, Kidderminister Harriers defender Cliff Moyo and Swansea teenage sensation Tivonge Rushesha want their documents renewed.
The applications will be submitted starting Monday, with just over a week remaining before the opening match against Botswana set for November 15 at Barbourfields.
“We have written to the Registrar-General’s Office, with assistance of Minister Kirsty Coventry,’’ said Mpandare.
“We went there on Monday and were told that we can only start submitting the papers from November 4, two per each day.
“We will send the first two on Monday (next week) then the other two on Tuesday and the remaining one for Rushesha, who has since been ruled out by injury, on Wednesday.
“We are not in panic mode yet because the authorities have been helpful. If anything, we are very confident that things will work out because concerted efforts are being put into this.
“Probably, the only challenge we could face is on Bonne and Chicksen because they need to have birth certificates first since they were not born in Zimbabwe.’’
Chicksen was born in England 28 years ago in Milton Keynes Dons, about 80 km north-west of London.
Bonne (24) was born in Ipswich, England.
Zemura was also born in England, but had already secured a Zimbabwean passport.
Bonne, Chicksen and Moyo have already indicated their commitment to Zimbabwe after featuring in unofficial matches for the Warriors before.
Mistry Chipere, who leads a group called Zimbabwe Foreign Legends that has been campaigning for the inclusion of the players born or raised in England, appealed to the authorities to expedite the acquisition of passports.
“We need all the players that are eligible for Zimbabwe to be available for the national team. This can only help to increase depth and competitiveness. Zimbabwe has to compete at the highest level the same way the likes of Senegal have done.
“Obviously, there could be some requirements some of these players, born outside the country, do not have in order to acquire passports, but we are saying some of these things should be waivered as long as it can be proven satisfactorily that these guys are Zimbabweans. I think it’s something that should be tackled even in parliament,” said Chipere.
Chipire also credited UK-based Zimbabwean coach Phillip Zulu for helping him in identifying some of the British Brigade.
The Warriors are in Group H of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers which also include the current African champion Algeria, neighbours Botswana and Zambia.
They face Botswana in the first match at Barbourfields on November 15, before travelling to Zambia four days later in the quest for a fifth AFCON appearance.
The home tie against Botswana will be on November 15 at Barbourfields at 6pm and the away match against Zambia is set for 6pm on November 19 at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka.