Nakamba, Karuru, back for Zimbabwe ahead of Congo clash
Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa has recalled midfielders Marvellous Nakamba and Ovidy Karuru for next month's double header against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Also included in the 23-man squad announced on Wednesday is Nottingham Forest right-back Tendayi Darikwa who looks set to finally secure his long-awaited Zimbabwean passport.
Zimbabwe play the DRC in Kinshasa on 10 October before hosting the return leg in Harare three days later. The outcome of the two matches could determine the eventual Group G winners.
The Warriors opened their campaign with an emphatic 3-0 victory at home to Liberia in June last year before stealing a point away to Congo-Brazzaville to remain top of the pool ahead of the (DRC) on goal difference.
Both Cercle Brugge midfielder Nakamba and South Africa-based Karuru missed the 1-1 draw with Congo early in September due to injury, and their return could help stabilise a midfield which looked overwhelmed in Brazzaville.
However, both are still short on match sharpness, with Nakamba yet to feature for the Belgian giants while Karuru made his first appearance of the season at the weekend after coming on as a second-half substitute in AmaZulu's 2-0 defeat at Kaizer Chiefs.
On the whole, Chidzambwa has resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes to the team which did duty in Congo, with only Orlando Pirates misfit Kudakwashe Mahachi and United States-based Lucky Mkosana the only ones to miss out.
Herentals' midfielder Richard Hachiro and the Yadah duo of Leeroy Mavunga and Brian Madzokere are back in the provisional squad, along with Ngezi Platinum goalkeeper Donovan Bernard who make up the locally-based contingent of the squad.
There is no place for reigning Player of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere, though, who is enjoying another outstanding campaign as he looks to power FC Platinum to a second consecutive league title. The former Hwange midfielder has scored seven goals in his last four matches to top the goal charts with 14 strikes.
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City); Donovan Bernard (Ngezi Platinum Stars); Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs)
Defenders: Divine Xolile Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows); Tendayi David Darikwa (Nottingham Forest); Alec Takunda Mudimu (CEFN Druids AFC); Tapiwa Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic); Teenage Lingani Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs); Kevin Njabulo Moyo (FC Platinum); Eric Chipeta (Cape Umoya United); Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars);
Midfielders: Marshal Nyasha Munetsi (Orlando Pirates); Tafadzwa Raphael Kutinyu (Azam); Danny Phiri (Lamontville Golden Arrows); Richard Hachiro (Herentals); Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars); Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu); Marvellous Nakamba (Club Brugge KV)
Strikers: Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs); Talent Chawapihwa (Baroka); Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht); Evans Rusike (SuperSport United); Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows)