There was good news last week when the Zimbabwe Football Association announced a list of 33 officials and former national team coach who were exonerated from the match-fixing scandal which has seen close to a hundred players and officials being suspended pending finalisation of their cases.
Good news for the Warriors fans and coaches is the removal of question marks which were hanging over three of the national soccer team the Warriors' most important midfielders Khama Billiat, Willard Katsande and Ovidy Karuru.
The trio was among the 33 players exonerated last week. Their absence was clearly felt as Zimbabwe succumbed to a shock 2-1 loss away to Burundi on 29 February in Bujumbura.
The midfield lacked creativity in the absence of the trio. While the national team has abundance of options in goalkeeping position, defence and strike force, it is not so lucky when it comes to the midfield, particularly the central midfield position.
Willard Katsande is so crucial to Zimbabwe that the Warriors' heavy reliance on his ability to drive the team from the central midfield position should in fact be a cause for concern. Ever since the days of Joel Shambo, Benjamin Nkhonjera and recently Ronald Sibanda, Zimbabwe has failed to produce a creative central midfielder.
At some point the Warriors played all their world cup and Africa Cup of Nations matches with two defensive midfielders Tinashe Nengomasha and Esrom Nyandoro. The two are great players, ad some coaches who lack insight have even commented that they see no problem in the two playing together.
Well, if such a view is not archaic, then it is simply a case of failure to appreciate the dynamics of modern football. A team that plays with four defenders does not really require two holding midfielders. Neither of Nyandoro or Nengomasha can be adapted as a creative midfielder.
There is only one player in the current squad who can switch from being a defensive midfielder to a creative midfielder. And that is Katsande! It is very unfortunate that Katsande's current club Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa have mainly used him as a defensive midfielder.
While Chiefs have enjoyed the versatility of the player who has been surprisingly used as a right back on few occasions, the Warriors would have preferred to see Katsande playing a creative midfield role at Chiefs, which is now reserved for Lucky Baloyi.
That Karuru has been the driving force behind the Warriors in the past AFCON qualifiers is without doubt. The role that Billiat could play has been overshadowed by the fact that the team has had two players in great form, namely striker Knowledge Musona and Karuru.
Billiat appears to be the only natural winger that the Warriors team has. The advantage with having Billiat in any team is that he may need just a second to conjure up his magic and win the match for the team with crucial goals.
The availability of the three players for selection is a huge relief for interim coach Rahman Gumbo. There is also Oscar Machapa of Moroka Swallows who has been very unfortunate with selections. He can add something special to the squad if called upon by the coaches.
Here is the list of the rest of the players and former Warriors coach Valinhos who were exonerated by the Ethic Committee:
Ovidy Karuru, Khama Billiat, Nicholas Arufandika, Kumbulani Banda, L
Chibwi, Thabani Goredema, Willard Katsande, Brian Katsuware, R Mabeza,
Oscar Machapa, Thembani Masuku, Hardlife Mavundi, Augustine Mbara,
Marshall Matenda, Milton Makopa, Nyasha Mukumbi, Maxwell Nyamupanedengu,
Tawanda Muparati, C Ncube, Milton Ncube, Edwin Nkomo, Asani Nhongo,
Christopher Semakwere, Martin Vengesai, Proud Zireni, Hardlife Zvirekwi,
A Mafulisi, Brighton Tuwaya, Evans Chikwaikwai, Gilbert Mushangazhike,
Charles Chiutsa, Ronald Sengu