By Farirayi Kahwemba
VETERAN Zimbabwe international footballer Nyasha Mushekwi is turning out to be one of the most potent strikers in the Chinese Super League for the 2023 season.
The 36-year-old former CAPS United and Mamelodi Sundowns player has now taken his tally to 16 league goals and is in the running to win the top scorer award in the popular Asian league.
Mushekwi, who plays for Zhejiang Professional, is currently second on the scoring charts and is just a goal behind leader Leonardo from Brazil.
The performance of the experienced Zimbabwean marksman makes for a very strong case for his inclusion in the Warriors team that will take part in the 2026 FIFA World Cup African Qualifiers from November.
As things stand, Mushekwi is the top scorer among all the Zimbabweans plying their trade beyond the borders of Zimbabwe and his experience with the Warriors makes him an asset who could play a key role in reviving the national team.
Although he is older than most of the other local strikers, he has scored more goals than the current leading marksman in the local topflight and this demonstrates his capabilities.
Mushekwi has certainly shown his pedigree, given the fact that the Chinese Super League is more competitive that the local league and calls for his inclusion in the Warriors set up – judging from his performance – are likely to grow louder.
Former Warriors striker Alois Bunjira has encouraged coach Baltemar Brito to cast his net wider when selecting his squad for the upcoming qualifiers.
Bunjira – a prolific scorer during his playing days at CAPS United, Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns – said players who were performing well must not be overlooked when it comes to selection for national duty.
“We need experienced players to be included in the team because we will be playing against South Africa and Nigeria.
“These are two very experienced teams, they have both been at the world cup, so we also need to field our best team of players so that we have a good chance of qualifying for the world cup,” Bunjira said.
Zimbabwe has been admitted back into international football after FIFA lifted a 17-month ban that was imposed on the country after it was found guilty of political interference.
“We have spent a long time outside international football and we have to look to blend in our international players with the local ones so that we have a balanced team,” Bunjira observed.
The ZIFA normalisation committee running the affairs of Zimbabwean football has announced that the Warriors will play against Botswana in an international friendly match at the National Sports Stadium on October 14 .
However, that match is now in doubt after indications from Gaborone suggested that Botswana was planning to host Eswatini on that date.