HARARE – Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa has called up unheralded Dzikamai Andre Gwaze for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifier against Malawi at the National Sports Stadium on June 5.
The Górnik Zabrze midfielder is virtually unknown in local football circles and when his name was read out, it sent tongues wagging at yesterday’s team announcement.
Pasuwa, however, defended his decision to call up the 27-year-old, who last played in the local league back in 2008 with Wieslaw Grabowski’s DT Africa and the now-defunct Monomotapa, as part of his 26-man provisional squad for the clash against the Flames.
“He’s a Zimbabwean player and I’ve been following him,” Pasuwa told reporters.
“He once played for Monomotapa and he’s now playing for Gornik; a club in Poland. I’ve got some videos of him playing well.
“Like I have said before; we have got an open door policy; for everyone who is well will be part of us in the Afcon team. There is no one guaranteed a place in the team.”
Surprisingly, Gwaze played only once for Gornik in the just-ended 2015/16 season despite Pasuwa’s claims he has many videos of the midfielder in action.
Pasuwa also recalled Orlando Pirates forward Tendai Ndoro for the Malawi game after he had been frozen out of the team.
Ndoro had struggled for game time at the Sea Robbers, even failing to make the matchday squads.
However, the former Chicken Inn forward’s career got back on track following the transfer of the Ghost’s leading forward Kermit Erusmas to France Ligue 1 side Rennes in January.
Since then, Ndoro has been the main man with his goals helping Pirates to finish in the top eight after a poor start to the season.
Pasuwa was forced to drop University of Pretoria duo of goalkeeper Washinton Arubi and defender Partson Jaure.
Amatuks are currently involved in the Super Diski promotion play-offs and their coach Shaun Bartlett heavily relies on the duo.
The Warriors are the front runners to win the sole ticket to play at the finals to be held in Gabon early next year.
Zimbabwe currently sit top of Group L with eight points from four matches while Swaziland and Guinea are in second and third respectively with five points.
Malawi are already out of the competition as they have a paltry two points which makes them a potential banana skin according to Pasuwa.
“We knock sense into the boys. We have a lot of guys who are playing well in Europe and if they look at that and think they have beaten Malawi already then it will be a problem,” he said.
“If you look back here at home; some teams at the bottom of the log are beating some teams at the top of the log. The players need to be serious; even you the media and every Zimbabwean must not think we have beaten Malawi already.
“This is one game that is going to be very difficult for us to win.
“Remember, we have not been winning games at the last hurdle.”
The squad is expected to get into camp on May 29 and they will immediately start preparing for the international friendly against Uganda at Rufaro Stadium on May 31.
Pasuwa also named a provisional 25-man squad for the Cosafa Castle Cup to be held in Namibia from June 11.
The Cosafa squad will get into camp immediately after the game against Malawi.
Goalkeepers: Tatenda Mkuruva (Dynamos), Donovan Bernard (How Mine), Tapiwa Chilenga (Triangle)
Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague), Lawrence Mhlanga, Teenage Hadebe (Chicken Inn), Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS United), Blessing Moyo (Harare City), Elisha Muroiwa (Dynamos), Bruce Kangwa (Highlanders), Onismo Bhasera (Bivest Wits)
Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Marvellous Nakamba (Vitesse Arnhem), Kuda Mahachi (Golden Arrows), Farai Madhanaga (Harare City), Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Marshall Mudehwe (FC Platinum), Dzikamai Andre Gwaze (Gornik Zabrze)
Strikers: Khama Billiat, Cuthbert Malajila (Mamelodi Sundowns), Tendai Ndoro (Orlando Pirates), Evans Rusike (Mariztburg), Matthew Rusike (Helsingborg), Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang), Knowledge Musona (KV Oostende)
Goalkeepers: Mkuruva (Dynamos), Bernard (How Mine), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum)
Defenders: Ronald Pfumbidzayi, Zvirekwi (CAPS United), Mhlanga, Hadebe (Chicken Inn), Kangwa (Highlanders), Muroiwa (Dynamos), Moyo (Harare City), William Stima (Tsholotsho)
Midfielders: Mudehwe, Hillary Bakacheza, Nqobizita Masuku (FC Platinum), Raphael Manuvire, Madhanaga (Harare City), Phiri, Kutinyu (Chicken Inn), King Nadolo (Highlanders), Talent Chawapihwa (ZPC Kariba)
Strikers: Mitchell Katsvairo, Obadiah Tarumbwa (Chicken Inn), William Manondo (Harare City), Walter Musona (FC Platinum), Charlton Mashumba (Jomo Cosmos).Pasuwa defends Gwaze call-up