The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THERE is some glimmer of hope that Aston Villa midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba could be available for Zimbabwe when they take on South Africa and Ethiopia in 2022 Fifa World Cup fixtures.
Zimbabwe face South Africa at the National Sports Stadium on Friday before they take on Ethiopia in Addis Ababa next Tuesday.
On Sunday, Aston Villa confirmed that they had released Emi Martínez and Emi Buendía to join up with the Argentina squad with the permission of the club in accordance with Fifa’s international match call-up rules. This is despite a unanimous decision by English Premier League clubs not to allow any players to travel to countries on UK’s red list in terms of Covid-19 guidelines. If players travel to any countries on UK’s red list, they require 10 days quarantine on return from national duty.
Martínez and Buendía have agreed to make themselves available for Argentina’s vital first two World Cup qualifying matches against Venezuela and Brazil but will not take part in the third international match against Bolivia.
In terms of this arrangement, Martínez and Buendía will only miss the league match against Chelsea before being available for the visit of Everton to Villa Park on 18th September in order to comply with the UK’s Covid quarantine regulations.
“We wish all of our players who are joining up with their national teams the best of luck in their upcoming matches,’’ Villa concluded in their statement.
Zimbabwe Warriors team manager, Wellington Mpandare confirmed that they were in talks with Villa over the release of Nakamba, with chances of the midfielder coming at 50/50.
“We enquiring with the club, there is a 50/50 chance that Nakamba is coming,’’ Mpandare said.
There is however no joy on the rest of the UK based players and Teenage Hadebe who plays for Houston Dynamo in United States of America’s Major Soccer League.