By Sazi Hadebe
Almost two years after announcing his retirement from international football‚ Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande has changed his mind and is making a comeback to the Zimbabwe national team.
The Zimbabweans are on the verge of qualifying for a second successive Africa Cup of Nations and Katsande said he did not think twice about returning to the Warriors when he got a call from coach Sunday Chizambwa.
“Obviously everybody wants to represent their country‚” said Katsande.
“So they called me and asked if I could come and help and I said ‘why not’ because they are on the critical phase of qualifications.
“They want everybody‚ they want the whole experience. So I just said I will come and help.
“It was just a way of understanding each other.”
The Zimbabweans need just one point from their last two qualifiers‚ against Liberia away on November 18 and at home against Congo on March 22‚ to ensure that they are among the 24 teams that will compete in Cameroon in June next year.
Katsande retired after the Afcon in Gabon in February last year after the Warriors failed to make it past Group B.
He cited his age and the need to concentrate on his career at Chiefs as reason for his retirement. The Zimbabweans had finished at the bottom of the group having not won a match against Senegal‚ Tunisia and Algeria.
But things have changed and Katsande didn’t hide the fact that Zimbabwe’s position at the top of the qualification standings made his change of heart easy.
“Yah it looks like that (they are qualifying) but we still need to play‚” he said.
“So we just need to play the next game‚ which against Liberia‚ and if we win we will be sure of qualification.”
The midfielder admitted that he missed international football and when Chizambwa came calling‚ the coach also stressed that they missed his experience in the national team.
“Yeah I missed playing for my national team because to be where I am today it’s because of them‚” he said.
“So it’s always good to give back to my country and I can’t wait to play there.
“The coach also explained everything to me and we have found the common ground.
“When they showed that they value my experience I said ‘why not’ because I have the experience of playing in Africa.” – The Sowetan