The match-fixing scandal, commonly known as Asiagate, which befell Zimbabwean football, granted some fringe players a chance to don the Warriors’ jersey in the absence of some top-notch professionals in that country.
The unknown players have gone on to represent Zimbabwe with pride and one such player is Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ defender Arnold Chaka.
The scandal saw almost 90 players being suspended from taking part in the international arena by Zimbabwean Football Association (Zifa). In recent times an Ethics Committee led by a retired judge saw some of those players affected by the blanket suspension being cleared. This means that Warriors’ coach Rahman Gumbo is once again spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting players for the international games. This means that some of the players, like Chaka, who were called for duty when the nation was crippled in terms of team selection might once again find themselves relegated.
With the Asiagate-implicated players back in contention, Chaka has told Sunday Standard that he is not worried about losing his place in the team. Chaka is expected to leave Gaborone tomorrow to join the rest of his teammates in Johannesburg before proceeding to Angola.
“Their return means that I should work extra to regain my place. I have to fight hard when I get an opportunity and this is a challenge I’m ready to take,” said Chaka, who has been included in the 26-man squad to face Angola in the return leg of the 2013 African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifiers in Luanda next weekend.
Chaka has played a sterling role in the qualifiers, which sees the Warriors 90 minutes away from qualifying.
Having beaten Angola 3-1 in Harare last month, Zimbabwe travel to Luanda hoping to deny the Palancas Negras from reaching the South African showpiece.
“We’re leading but that does not mean we’ve won. We’ve to go out there (Luanda) and fight for our place in South Africa. That would be greatest achievement,” he said on Friday.
Zimbabwe first qualified for AFCON in 2004 under the tutelage of Sunday Chizambwa and Charles Mhlauri guided them at the 2006 finals. Since then they have missed on two consecutive tournaments. Most Zimbabweans believe that since the team is once again under a local coach, they would be able to reach the finals.
Coach Gumbo has named a strong squad which included German-based striker Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat (Ajax Capetown), Tenashe Nengomasha (Bidvest Wits) and Kingston Nkhatha (Kaizer Chiefs).