Ray Bande Senior Reporter
FORMER national team skipper and Kaizer Chiefs anchorman Willard Katsande says he is ready to come out of retirement from international football to help the Warriors in the forthcoming assignments if called by the technical team, Post Sport has learnt.
Katsande’s sentiments come hard on the heels of Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa’s announcement of the provisional squad of 28 players for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Congo in next month.
A number of unfamiliar foreign based players were named in that squad.
As largely expected by fans across the country, Katsande was not part of that list after the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder played his final game as Zimbabwe crashed out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations following a 4-2 defeat to Tunisia in Gabon.
The former Highway FC and Gunners player announced his retirement from international football after Gabon 2017.
Katsande, who made his debut for Zimbabwe back in March 2009 friendly against Bahrain after impressing national team selectors while on the books of the now defunct Highway FC, feels he can still add value to the national team but can only do so if invited to take part.
He has gone on to make more than 30 appearances for his country.
“I think I can still play for Zimbabwe if given a chance by the coaches. Yes, I decided to retire from international football but serving one’s country is not something that one can decide against especially when needed. If I am needed and invited to help the country until they find a replacement I will not hesitate to help my country,” said Katsande.
The former Warriors captain Katsande might have cut short his international career by announcing his retirement from international football, but the Kaizer Chiefs hardman is on record declaring that he has set himself a target of playing until he turns 36.
The former Highway and Gunners defensive midfielder, one of the best footballers to come out of Manicaland, turns 32 in January next year.
During the Afcon finals in Gabon, Zimbabwe held favourites Algeria to a 2-2 draw before falling 2-0 to Senegal and finishing their groups stages with 2-4 defeat to Tunisia.
That was Katsande’s last dance in Warriors colours.
After that, Katsande was overlooked by Warriors’ coach Norman Mapeza for the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Liberia, which Zimbabwe won 3-0 at the National Sports Stadium in June, after the former skipper revealed he had retired from international football.
Other reports, however, suggested Katsande was victimised for playing a leading role in the stand-off between the Warriors and ZIFA which resulted in the national team players boycotting a send-off function that had been organised for them by the Government prior to the Afcon competition in Gabon.
Other players who were reported to have been caught in the controversy were striker Cuthbert Malajila and forward Matthew Rusike.
Be that as it may, Katsande is not the first, neither last to come out of retirement.
According to Plannetfootball, an English football publication, several players retired from playing the game and later rescinded their decision.
Some legends of the game have gone on a fair bit longer – and this lot hung up their boots only to realise they have still got it, after all.
On January 8, 2012, more than six months after announcing his retirement, Scholes was named on the bench for the Manchester derby.
Not even his team-mates knew he was returning before they got into the dressing room that day, never mind the shocked United fans – and media – inside the stadium.
Scholes ended up making 21 appearances in the second half of the season and then stayed on for another year as United won back the Premier League title before Sir Alex Ferguson and Scholes – for good this time – called it a day.
Having left Arsenal in 2008, Lehmann called it a day in 2010 but returned a year later when three of Arsene Wenger’s goalkeepers were out injured.
Lehmann put aside his feud with Manuel Almunia to sign as back-up but, after the Spaniard was injured in the warm-up ahead of a clash with Blackpool, the 42-year-old stepped in and played his part in a 3-1 win.
Having been released by Leeds aged 25, Rogers chose to retire from the game, and in doing so came out as gay.
Stating he felt like a coward for not “stepping up to the plate”, he signed for LA Galaxy just a few months later, and became the first openly gay athlete to play in a top American professional sports league.
Now retired permanently due to persistent injuries, his story might be an important one in years to come.
If Milla had his way, nobody would ever have witnessed that famous corner flag wiggle, as the Cameroon striker attempted to retire a year before his heroics at Italia ’90.
Bringing his playing career to an end in 1989, Milla moved to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, but was called back for duty by Cameroon’s president Paul Biya.
Not content with the one World Cup, the forward carried on playing until the next, and at the age of 42 he was the oldest player to appear in the competition until his record was broken by Faryd Mondragon in 2014.
Four years after retiring due to a persistent knee injury, Overmars featured in Jaap Stam’s testimonial match and put in a performance which saw a host of clubs offer to sign him.
Having initially declined, the tricky forward re-signed for his first club, Go Ahead Eagles.
Warriors’ full squad below:
George Chigova (Polokwane); Donovan Benard (Ngezi Platinum Stars); Edmore Sibanda (Witbank); Talbert Shumba (Chapungu); Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows); Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest); Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids AFC); Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague); Teenage Hadebe (Chiefs); Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum); Eric Chipeta (Cape Umoya United); Adam Chicksen (Bradford City); BYRON Madzokerere (Yadah); Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates); Tafadzwa Kutinyu (AZAM); Ovidy Karuru (amazulu); Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brudge); Richard Hachiro (Herentals); Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka); Kudakwashe Mahachi (Orlando); Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah); Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs); Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht); Evans Rusike (Supersport); Kelly Lunga (Sc Bonner); Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest wits); Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang); Tinotenda Chibharo (FK Sloboda Uzice)