WARRIORS coach Klaus Dieter Pagels has named his first squad for next week’s international friendly match against Botswana at Rufaro Stadium, throwing the bulk of senior players’ international careers into doubt.
He has dropped captain Tapuwa Kapini, who is back at training with his club after an ankle injury and his deputy Esrom Nyandoro while also shutting the door on Oscar Machapa, Carlington Nyadombo and Noel Kaseke as he prepares Zimbabwe for a new start.
The friendly match is in preparation for a 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifying match against Egypt at the end of March.
Pagels’ 23-man squad is dominated by the “Young Turks.”
In announcing the squad yesterday team manager Sharif Musa said the new- look team is expected in camp on Sunday evening.
From the squad that did duty in Angola in that decisive Afcon final qualifying round, only Archford Gutu, Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona have survived the chop.
Musona, Gutu and Denmark-based Quincy Antipas are the only Europe-based players that have been included into the team.
Goalkeeper Washington Arubi, Tafadzwa Rusike, Ocean Mushure and Gilbert Mapemba have returned into the Warriors fold after paying their fines for their alleged involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.
Pagels, who had promised that his team would be built around local players, lived up to his word by including 10 players currently based in the country.
The list is headlined by Soccer Star of the Year second runner-up Masimba Mambare, Ronald Chitiyo and Patson Jaure who were also named among the 11 best players of the season. Hardlife Zvirekwi had an outstanding season for Caps United last season and has been rewarded with his Warriors first call up, and so is Silas Songani of Harare City and the unheralded Monomotapa left-back Nicholas Guyo.
Harare City goalkeeper Max Nyamupanedengu has been called while Highlanders’ Arial Sibanda who kept goal against Angola, has been dropped.
Other notable faces in the squad are Abbas Amidu, Denver Mukamba, Lincoln Zvasiya and Mathew Rusike who were all part of the fiery Young Warriors squad who were unfortunate not to be registered for the London Olympics qualifiers last year.
Bloemfontein Celtic new striker Rodreck Mutuma has also been called up and will be making his second appearance in the Warriors jersey after his debut against the same opposition at the UB Stadium last year.
However, Pagels has surprisingly overlooked England-based Bradley Pritchard who has been making waves playing for Charlton Athletic.
There is also no place in the Warriors team for midfielder Ovidy Karuru, arguably one of the best attacking players of his generation. Another player who has a strong case is anchorman Willard Katsande who has been one of the best players for the Warriors in recent times and is enjoying his career at Kaizer Chiefs.
Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (Pretoria University, SA), Artwell Mukandi (Dynamos), Maxwell Nyamupanedengu (Harare City)
Defenders: Gilbert Mapemba (Moroka Swallows, SA), Lincoln Zvasiya (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Partson Jaure, Ocean Mushure (Dynamos), Nicholas Guyo (Monomotapa)
Midfielders: Archford Gutu (Kalmar FC, Sweden), Quincy Antipas (Brondby, Denmark), Denver Mukamba (Bidvest Wits University, SA), Tafadzwa Rusike, Khama Billiat ((Ajax Cape Town, SA), Mathew Rusike (Kaizer Chief, SA), Hardlife Zvirekwi (Caps United), Ronald Chitiyo (Monomotapa), Peter Moyo, Masimba Mambare (Highlanders)
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (Augsburg, Germany), Simba Sithole (SuperSport United, SA), Rodreck Mutuma (Bloemfontein Celtic, SA), Silas Songani (Harare City), Abbas Amidu (Black Leopards, SA).