Mapeza unable to coax Billiat out of retirement as Zim miss stars at Afcon
Zimbabwe coach Norman Mapeza has named his 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, but is without a number of his leading players due to injury and abrupt international retirement.
Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Tawanda Maswanhise of Leicester City, Reims midfielder Marshal Munetsi and Wigan Athletic's Tendayi Darikwa will miss the January 9 to February 6 tournament through injury.
Leading forward Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs announced last month he had retired from international football. Mapeza had been hoping to change his mind, but Billiat has not been included in the final selection.
The squad will be led by former Chiefs striker Knowledge Musona and includes Lyon forward Tinotenda Kadewere and defender Teenage Hadebe, who plays in Major League Soccer with Houston Dynamo FC.
Left-back Jordan Zemura from English Championship side Bournemouth had been an injury doubt, but has been included, along with Leicester-born forward Admiral Muskwe, who plays for Luton Town.
There is also a recall for former Celtic midfielder Kundai Benyu, who now plies his trade in Iceland. He last played for the national team in 2017.
Zimbabwe open their Group B campaign against Senegal on January 10 and will also face Malawi and Guinea in their pool.
SuperSport United left-back Onismor Bhasera and winger Kudakwashe Mahachi, Free State Stars goalkeeper Talbert Shumba and JDR Stars midfielder Ishmael Wadi are the SA-based players in Mapeza's squad.
Zimbabwe's Africa Cup of Nations Squad:
Goalkeepers: Petros Mhari (FC Platinum), Martin Mapisa (FC Zamora), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars)
Defenders: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth), Godknows Muriwa (Dynamos), Gerald Takwara (Venda Football Academy), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Bruce Kangwa (Azam), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United)
Midfielders: Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Never Tigere (Azam), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Ishmael Wadi (JDR Stars), Kundai Benyu (Vestri Isafjordur)
Forwards: Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Prince Dube (Azam), David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Knowledge Musona (Al-Tai), Tinotenda Kadewere (Lyon)
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