2021 AFCON: Zimbabwe announce 23-man squad despite threat of a Fifa ban

Published on: 30 December 2021

A Zimbabwe squad of 23 players has been named for the Africa Cup of Nations despite the threat of a Fifa ban.

On 21 December football's world governing body said a ban "may have to be imposed on" Zimbabwe unless the elected FA regains control of the sport by 3 January.

In November, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board was suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), a body mandated to develop sport by the government.

The SRC then informed Fifa that it had appointed a nine-member "restructuring committee" which could be in place until December 2022.

Fifa disapproves of governmental interference in the running of member associations and has banned countries from all forms of football as a result in the past.

There are just 23 players on the list for the finals in Cameroon despite competing nations being allowed to submit up to 28 names to help deal with any Covid-19 problems at the finals.

It is not clear whether it was the Fifa-recognised Zifa board or a secretariat that is running day-to-day matters with guidance from the SRC.

Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Tawanda Maswanhise of Leicester City, Reims midfielder Marshall Munetsi, Plymouth Argyle's Brendan Galloway and Wigan Athletic's Tendayi Darikwa will all miss the tournament through injury.

Also missing is Khama Billiat, who plays for Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, after he announced last month that he had retired from international football.

The squad does include striker Knowledge Musona, Lyon forward Tinotenda Kadewere and defender Teenage Hadebe, who plays in Major League Soccer with Houston Dynamo.

Left-back Jordan Zemura from English Championship side Bournemouth had been an injury doubt but has been included, along with Leicester-born forward Admiral Muskwe, who plays for Luton Town.

There is also a place on the list for former Celtic midfielder Kundai Benyu, who now plies his trade in Iceland. He last played for the national team in 2017.

Zimbabwe open their Group B campaign against Senegal on 10 January and will also face Malawi and Guinea.

Zimbabwe squad for Afcon 2021

Goalkeepers: Petros Mhari (FC Platinum, Zimbabwe), Martin Mapisa (FC Zamora, Spain), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars, South Africa).

Defenders: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders, Zimbabwe), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi, Georgia), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana, Zambia), Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth, England), Godknows Muriwa (Dynamos, Zimbabwe), Gerald Takwara (Venda Football Academy, South Africa), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo, USA), Bruce Kangwa (Azam, Tanzania), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United, South Africa).

Midfielders: Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum, Zimbabwe), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United, Zambia), Never Tigere (Azam, Tanzania), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United, South Africa), Ishmael Wadi (JDR Stars, South Africa), Kundai Benyu (Vestri, Iceland).

Forwards: Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town, England), Prince Dube (Azam, Tanzania), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical, Scotland), Knowledge Musona (Al Tai, Saudi Arabia), Tinotenda Kadewere (Lyon, France).

Source: BBC