Hadebe backline boost for Warriors

Fungai Muderere

AT a time the senior national soccer team is set to plunge into battle against Lesotho and South Africa tomorrow and Tuesday respectively, Mamelodi Sundowns’ Devine Lunga, Saudi Arabia-based Gerald Takwara and Chicken Inn goalkeeper Donovan Bernard are the players who have been consistent in the Warriors colours in recent matches.

The gritty Takwara, who plays as a central defender for Ohod FC in the Saudi First Division league, has had an impressive season.  He featured in 21 league games and one King’s Cup match.

Notably, Takwara, a former Tsholotsho and FC Platinum player, was one of the stand-out players during Zimbabwe’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign, earning praise for his performance in the Warriors 2-1 victory over Guinea.

His journey from South Africa’s National First Division (NFD) struggles to excelling in Saudi Arabia is commendable, and he has certainly made an impact on the pitch.

Takwara is likely to partner resurgent Warriors left back Lunga, a Mpopoma-bred player who has been a valuable asset to South Africa’s Sundowns, contributing both defensively and offensively.

His return from loan at Golden Arrows has certainly made an impact. Recently, he scooped his second Premiership title with Mamelodi Sundowns after their 5-1 drubbing of Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.

The interim Warriors technical department which has Jairos Tapera as head coach, Takesure Chiragwi and Saul Chaminuka as the first and second assistant coaches respectively, also managed to pick in-form Chicken Inn goalkeeper Donovan  who seems guaranteed of a starting place ahead of Dynamos’ Martin Mapisa and unheralded Godfrey Chitsumba of Manica Diamonds.

In the 14 local premiership games that have been played so far, Donovan has only missed one game which they drew two all against FC Platinum.

At his club, he has conceded seven goals and the two other strikes were let in by his deputy Pride Zendera.  Mapisa has conceded 11 goals, Chitsumba, who is new in the Warriors setup, has picked nine goals from the back of the net.

Meanwhile, the Warriors got a timely boost on Tuesday evening after towering centre back Hadebe joined camp in South Africa.

The left-footed defender had travelled to United States of America (USA) to seal a new deal. He recently parted ways with Turkish Super Lig outfit Tumosan Konyaspor after spending four months at the club.

England-based Brendon Galloway, who was unable to join the Warriors due to an injury was not replaced. The Warriors play Lesotho in a 2026 World Cup qualifier at Orlando Stadium on Friday night, and then meet South Africa in Bloemfontein on Tuesday in the same competition.

The Warriors were forced to play their home matches away due to the unavailability of a Caf accredited stadium at home.

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