WILLARD Katsande trained with Kaizer Chiefs last week and now faces an uncertain future in Ian Gorowa’s Warriors after snubbing national duty.
The Warriors were preparing for this afternoon’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) first round, first leg qualifier against Tanzania at Dar es Salaam’s Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium.
The defensive linkman did not turn up for Warriors camp, citing serious illness after he had earlier on told Warriors manager Shariff Mussa that he was already on his way to Harare by road from Johannesburg.
But it has emerged that Katsande was active at Chiefs who were yet to break for off-season last week.
Kaizer Chiefs corporate communications manager Vina Maphosa confirmed that Katsande was not down with the purported stomach bug or fever.
“If I was aware that Katsande was ill or injured I would have put it on our website,” Maphosa said.
“He was here at Naturena yesterday (Wednesday) and he trained with the team. I even interviewed him because I am working on story to put on the website.”
Maphosa was pictured together with Katsande.
Apparently sensing that he could have landed Katsande in trouble by the startling revelations, Maphosa later made a U-turn.
“But now I remember Willard was not well to train. I will check if he trained. I saw him at training yes. I do not know if he trained.”
Confusing his statements might be, he had already sold a the player out.
Maphosa said he “did not know” if Katsande’s Chiefs teammate Kingston Nkhatha was training.
Nkhatha is alleged to have been feigning an injury, but Gorowa has not minded much about the striker and had directedhis anger against Katsande.
Gorowa was last week seething with rage over Katsande’s snubbing of the Warriors camp.
Following the snub, the 42-year-old gaffer has not guaranteed the former Gunners and Ajax Cape Town man a future in the team.
“We will sit down as a technical team, make our assessment and then take it up from there,” Gorowa said.
“We will also have to hear his side of the story and will see what decision we make. I do not want to talk much about it at the moment because we do not have control over it. For now what is important is the game on Sunday (today).”
Gorowa would be happy to emerge from Dar es Salaam with an away goal cushion or a draw which would make the Warriors’ job easy in the return leg in Harare.
But he feels a win would be realistic and his plan is to avoid conceding a goal.
“We can get a win,” Gorowa said. It is important and possible to win and crucially for us not to concede. Obviously they are playing at home and they will come us. We have to repel their attacks and catch them on the break.”
Gorowa was appraised on Tanzania’s game by one of Malawi’s two coaches who saw the Taifa Stars in action when they played the Flames in a 0-0 draw recently.
“The coach was just confirming what he saw in them (Tanzania). We played against them last year and they played them recently. They have two quick wingers and their two centre backs are very slow. We even saw that when we played them last year,” he said.
Chippa United-bound defender Erick Chipeta was on Friday reserved with a slight knock and only participated in warm-ups before sitting out the rest of the one hour 30 minutes tactical workout.
The opposition’s camp got a major boost on Friday following the availability of the TP Mazembe players Thomas Ulimwengu and Mbwana Samatta whom the Congolese club had earlier on declined to release for the tie.
They were expected to arrive in Dar es Salaam yesterday, just over 24 hours before the match.
But fatigue could catch up with the two who participated in Friday’s African Champions League Group A tie against Al Hilal in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
This afternoon’s clash would be Tanzania’s new Dutch coach Martinus Nooij’s first competitive match.