Chicken INN defender Ian Nekati has been given the responsibility to lead the band of Warriors to do duty at CHAN finals which roar into life in Cameroon this Saturday.
The tournament runs until February 7.
The 31-year-old full-back will be deputised by Dynamos skipper Patson Jaure.
The squad, with a clean bill of health, the injured having shaken off the sprains and each of the 23-member team having retained negative results for Covid-19 on Tuesday, left the country yesterday afternoon.
They were expected to put up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last night before connecting to Yaounde, this morning.
And Nekati, the only local based player to command a regular place in the previous 2021 AFCON qualifiers in the absence of Tendayi Darikwa, has been given the nod to lead the Warriors in the rescheduled tournament reserved only for players plying their trade in their respective domestic leagues.
Although coach Zdravko Logarusic couldn’t reveal the identity of his captain, The Herald has gathered that it is the former FC Platinum and ZPC Kariba man who has been entrusted with the role.
The Croat gaffer, whose preparations were heavily affected after 15 members of his squad including himself and nine players tested positive for Covid-19, had previously hinted that the armband would be handed to either Jaure or Nekati with goalkeeper Nelson Chadya’s name also featuring.
“I won’t rush to make those decisions (appointment of captain). We still have a lot of work to do and we are still assessing the players’ leadership qualities,” he said.
“But, we have some players in mind already and we may decide to zero on them.
“Ian Nekati has picked enough experience in recent history having featured in Afcon qualifiers. He knows what’s expected in the continental jungle and he is a good player too.
“Patson Jaure has previously captained the team and he could be handy if given the responsibility again. We will see who we can choose between them but definitely one of them should be deputy. We have also looked at different options but it’s not a decision we can make now. Our preoccupation at the moment is to prepare a team which can compete at Chan.”
Since then, Loga has shut the doors on the media and has rarely commented on issues to do with the team.
However, a source in the team yesterday said Nekati and Jaure had been named captain and vice-captain ahead of the tournament.
“Ian Nekati is the new captain and he will be deputised by Jaure (Patson).
“We are raring to go and we believe the team will give its best shot despite some shoddy preparations caused by Covid-19,” said the source.
Zimbabwe are in Group A and open the tournament with a date against hosts Cameroon on Saturday at 6pm.
They will face off against Mali and Burkina Faso in the same pool.
Warriors squad for CHAN
Goalkeepers: Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Simba Chinani (Dynamos), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi)
Defenders: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Partson Jaure (Dynamos), Tafadzwa Jaravani (CAPS Utd), Ian Nekati (Chicken inn), Qadr Amini (Ngezi), Carlos Mavhurume (CAPS Utd), Pawell Govere (Golden Eagles), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders), Talent Chamboko (Manica Diamonds)
Midfielders: Richard Hachiro (CAPS Utd), Ronald Chitiyo (CAPS Utd), Shadreck Nyahwa (Byo (Chiefs), Wellington Taderera (Ngezi), Leeroy Mavunga (CAPS Utd), Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), King Nadolo (Dynamos), Denver Mukamba (Ngezi)
Strikers: Obriel Chirinda (Chicken inn), Tawanda Nyamandwe (Manica Diamonds), Farawo Matare (Bulawayo Chiefs)