The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) explained the rationale behind the inclusion of UK-based players in the Warriors squad for the next World Cup qualifiers despite facing travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela on Wednesday said the Association is engaging the English clubs and hope they will release the players.
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On Tuesday English Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to bar their players from travelling to red-listed countries during the September international break.
Zimbabwe is on the list that contains the riskiest countries deemed to have the potential to spread the coronavirus in the UK. Said Gwesela:
We are still hopeful that all players will be available for the matches despite the adverse position taken by the English Premier League to bar players from fulfilling the national assignments citing England’s stringent quarantine regulations.
We are engaging all clubs that have intimated that they are going to withhold players, hoping they will fulfil their obligations to release players as stated in the regulations on the status and transfer of players.
We are confident that the team that we will eventually come up with will still represent the nation with pride and compete to the best of their abilities as true Warriors.
UK-based players who could miss the upcoming matches include Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Luton striker Admiral Muskwe, Ipswich forward Macauley Bonne, Bournemouth defender Jordan Zemura, David Moyo of Hamilton Academical and Wigan Athletic captain Tendayi Darikwa.
Zimbabwe faces South Africa at home on 3 September before travelling to Ethiopia for the second Group G qualifier four days later.