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Banned Zimbabwe striker Nyasha Mushekwi set for 2019 Afcon qualifier

20:17 GMT+3 14/08/2018
Nyasha Mushekwi of Zimbabwe African Nations Cup  January 23, 2017 in Libreville, Gabon
The 30-year-old Dalian Lifang forward was banned by Zifa from playing for the Warriors together with three other senior players last year

In-form Zimbabwean striker Nyasha Mushekwi is expected to be included in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier squad to be named on Wednesday.

Group G leaders Zimbabwe travel to Congo Brazzaville for the September 9 match, after thumping Liberia 3-0 in their opening game in Harare last year.

Mushekwi together with ex-Warriors captain Willard Katsande, Cuthbert Malajila and Matthew Rusike were banned from the Warriors by Zifa for allegedly inciting a protest over non-payment of bonuses last year.

The quartet was pointed out as ringleaders of a mutiny that saw players snub a send-off dinner just before their departure for the Afcon finals in Gabon.

This then saw the four being excluded from the Liberia win by then interim coach Norman Mapeza in June last year, their last game with the Warriors being in Gabon.

But with Mushekwi currently enjoying some scintillating form in the Chinese Super League, Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambga might not be able to overlook the former Mamelodi Sundowns striker.

A hat-trick in last Friday’s 3-0 thumping of Guangzhou R&F upped Mushekwi’s season tally to seven goals in 10 league appearances.

For the fear of public backlash, Zifa appear to have backtracked on Mushekwi following a lot of noise in the Zimbabwean media which has amplified the player's case.

Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Katsande could also make a comeback, while Malajila and Rusike might still be sidelined due to loss of form.

Team manager Wellington Mupandare gave the strongest hint that Mushekwi is set to return to the national team, divorcing the technical team from Zifa’s decision.

“Yes, the door is open for them,” Mupandare told Goal.

“Any player out there who is eligible to play for Zimbabwe and doing well at his club will be considered for national duty. As long as the technical department feels that he can give the team something.

“As far as we are concerned, we have not been limited by Zifa. The only limitation that we have is on those players who do not have Zimbabwean passports.”

Mushekwi’s return would bolster Chidzambga’s strikeforce which has captain Knowledge Musona and Evans Rusike as the most recognisable players.

Katsande will have to contend for a place with Orlando Pirates player Marshall Munetsi and Danny Phiri of Golden Arrows.