The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) says it cannot guarantee the availability of key players based in Europe ahead of the Warriors’ FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia next week.
Clubs in Europe are refusing to release players who would have to quarantine for 10 days upon return and thus miss their teams’ assignments.
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Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba will not be travelling to Zimbabwe for the matches after English Premier League clubs unanimously agreed not to release their players who have to travel to Red List countries.
Jordan Zemura at Bournemouth, Tendayi Darikwa and Brendon Galloway could also be affected.
ZIFA vice-president Philemon Machana on Tuesday told NewsDay there wasn’t much they could do, but to try and persuade the clubs to release the players. He said:
True, we have a dilemma. We have to think like leaders and not being self-centred. We want all our players to come and play for their country, but at the same time, we need to consider the careers of these players.
So the best for us is to continue to engage with the club and the player so that we have a win-win situation.
Egypt might, for example, decide to force Salah to come for the match and have the capacity to pay him a week’s salary, but do we have the capacity to pay Nakamba for instance?
So the best is to keep engaging, we believe in engagement. We must think like leaders and safeguard the careers of the players. This is why the coach has delayed naming the squad.