Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ defender, Arnold Chaka, has been named in a 30-man strong Zimbabwean squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Guinea and Mozambique, which kick off next month.
The Warriors host Guinea in Harare on June 3 before travelling to Maputo for a tricky encounter against the Black Mambas on June 9.
The no-nonsense Chiefs’ defender is the only Botswana-based player in the squad, which was named by interim coach, Rahman Gumbo on Thursday. This is the second time Chaka receives a call-up to the national team in a space of three months. He made his international debut when the Warriors faced Burundi in the 2013 African Nations Cup qualifier on February 29 in Bujumbura. He played for 90 minutes at the heart of the defence alongside veteran Esrom Nyandoro in a game which the Zimbabweans lost 2-1. Though the Warriors lost, the technical team is said to have been impressed by the performance of the towering Chiefs’ defender.
When contacted for comment, Chaka was delighted to have received another call-up, saying that it shows that he did something right on his debut.
“This call-up gives me another chance to impress the technical team. It’s not going to be easy but I have no doubt in my abilities. All I need to do is to focus and follow the coaches’ instructions,” he said. Chaka is aware that it is not going to be easy to command a regular place in the team as they have a number of quality players.
Chiefs’ communications’ manager, Clifford Mogomotsi, said that Chaka’s call-up shows that Botswana football is growing. He pointed out that he was surprised in January when the then Zimbabwean coach Norman Mapeza lamented that he was not aware that there are Zimbabweans of quality in the Botswana Premier League.
“When we brought him here, we knew that he is a quality defender and we’re not surprised that he has received another call-up. People have been complaining that in Botswana we’re not signing quality foreigners but his call-up goes to show that he is something special,” added Mogomotsi. The spokesperson was disappointed that their key anchorman Elvis Meleka has been deprived of a chance to play for the national team as he has been linked to the Asiagate scandal which has seen a number of Zimbabwean players blacklisted.
Former Zimbabwean international Fabian Zulu pointed out that Chaka deserves another call-up as he has been consistent for his club. Zulu revealed that he is the one who recommended the defender to the technical team headed by Gumbo.
“He’s a good player and I think he can play a role in the qualifiers,” he said. BMC midfielder, Mandlaenkosi Sibanda, who was called-up for the Burundi game has been dropped following a series of below-par performances for his club.
Warriors full squad for the qualifiers:
Goalkeepers: Tapiwa Kapini (AmaZulu, SA), Njabulo Nyoni (Chicken Inn) Marlon Jani (Motor Action), Timothy Sibanda (Hwange)
Defenders: Tapiwa Khumbuyani (CAPS United), Godfrey Moyo (Motor Action), Patson Jaure (Dynamos), Nyasha Mukumbi (CAPS United), Onismore Bhasera (Plymouth Argyle, England), Carrington Nyadombo (AmaZulu, SA), Arnold Chaka (Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Botswana),
Midfielders: Simon Munawa (Highlanders), Denver Mukamba (Dynamos), Charles Sibanda (FC Platinum), Kuda Mahachi (Chicken Inn), Ronald Chitiyo (Monomotapa), Welcome Ndiweni (FC Platinum), Bradley Pritchard (Charlton Athletic, England), Vusa Nyoni (Gerninal Beerschot, Belgium), Tinashe Nengomasha (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Khama Billiat (Ajax Cape Town, SA), Ovidy Karuru (US Boulogne), Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Oscar Machapa (Moroka Swallows, SA), Archiford Gutu (Kalmar FF, Sweden)
Strikers: Rodwell Chinyengetere (Hwange), Takesure Chinyama (Dynamos), Francisco Zvikumbawire (Hwange), Terrence Mandaza (Platinum Stars, SA), Knowledge Musona (Hoffeinheim, Germany).