South Africa-based former Dynamos striker Cuthbert Malajila has bounced back into the Warriors after he was named in the squad that goes into camp on Monday ahead of the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier against Egypt.
Zimbabwe is already out of contention but the match retains importance as coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels builds a team for Afcon 2015.
Malajila had been frozen out since the German mentor took over from Rahman Gumbo, but after an impressive run of form for Maritzburg United where he scored 11 league goals in the just- ended season, the attacker has won Pagels over.
He has since clinched a move to Sundowns where he will link up with Nyasha Mushekwi, Esrom Nyandoro and Lionel Mtizwa.
Terence Mandaza, Zimbabwe’s second highest scorer in the Absa Premiership, is among those overlooked. Pagels continues to polarise opinion by ignoring Kaizer Chiefs’ Willard Katsande and Kingston Nkatha.
He has kept faith in the squad that battled well in Egypt adding Malajila, Dynamos’ midfielder Devon Chafa, Chicken Inn defender Felix Chidungwe and Dynamos keeper Artwell Mukandi.
The call up of Chidungwe signals Pagels will heed calls by many in football circles to play a regular center half as opposed to reinventing left back Augustine Mbara as was the case in Egypt.
Mbara made the costly error by committing a foul in the penalty box right at the death to gift the hosts all three points. Zimbabwe lost to Egypt 2-1 with German based Knowledge Musona scoring the Warriors goal.
Yesterday Malajila said he was delighted to be called up.
“It is every player’s dream to be called up to the national team,” said Malajila. “I am happy that my efforts have been recognised.”
Denver Mukamba has seen little game time at Wits but he retains his place in the squad while Denmark-based Quincy Antipas will miss the tie through injury.
Ajax cape Town’s Khama Billiat and Tafadzwa Rusike have both been called up together with Kaizer Chiefs winger Mathew Rusike.
Having collected just one point from the first three matches, Zimbabwe trail group leaders Egypt by eight points with three matches left in this phase of the campaign.
After Egypt, Zimbabwe travel to Guinea also hoping to restore pride after a home defeat in the opening match of the qualifiers, before rounding off with a home match against Mozambique.
The Zimbabwe Warriors Trust this week announced they were trying to raise at least a US$1m for the remainder of the mission.
A campaign to gather resources for the national teams has been launched with the Zimbabwe Football Trust appealing to fans to contribute at least US$1 each towards football.
Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (Tuks, SA), Max Nyamupangedengu (Harare City), Artwell Mukandi (Dynamos).
Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi (Caps United, Zim), Patson Jaure, Ocean Mushure (all Dynamos), Lincoln Zvasiya (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), F Chindungwe, (Chicken Inn), E Chapeta (Hwange), N Guyo
Midfielders: Denver Mukamba (Bidvest Wits, SA), Archford Gutu (Kalmar, Sweden), Silas Songani (Harare City), Abbas Amidu (Black Leopards, SA), T Rusike, Khama Billiat (Ajax Cape Town, SA), Ronald Chitiyo (Monomotapa), M Mambare (Highlanders), O Karuru, D Chafa(Dynamos) M Rusike(Kaizer Chiefs ,SA),
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (Augsburg, Germany), Rodreck Mutuma (Bloem Celtic, SA), Simba Sithole (Supersport, SA), C Malajila (Maritzburg United).