Willard Katsande: Fresh Blood Needed for Warriors Challenges

Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs hardman Willard Katsande retired from international football after the group matches in Gabon during the 2017 AFCON, saying the time had come for other players to come and represent the country.

And if Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa felt he still had value to add to the team in its battles to try and qualify for the 2019 AFCON finals in Cameroon.

“For me, personally, it was a good experience. I feel it is now time for the youngsters. I feel I need to give way to the youngsters to carry the team forward,” said Katsande.

“Whenever I will be needed, I’m gonna give my assistance. For now I feel that what is needed is fresh blood to take on the future challenges.”

He also spoke to Supersport.com and confirmed he had called time on his international career after achieving his goal of taking his country to the AFCON finals.
Willard Katsande 

“I have decided to call time on my national team career after bowing out from AFCON. (There) comes a time where you have to make the hard decisions, as you know I am 31 and it’s just the right time to now to fully concentrate on my club career at Kaizer Chiefs,” he said.

“We played well, but we have not been consistent, conceding goals despite working hard, but we take back lessons home and hopefully things will be different next time.

“I have given many years to my nation and I want to see younger players follow in my footsteps and hopefully, become even better. I have had a great time in the national team and I am definitely grateful about it.”

Tunisian defender, Syan Ben Youssef, showered Katsande with praise and said the midfielder was one of the best players in the Warriors team.

“Zimbabwe, led by their captain are a good team. Yes, we scored more goals, but they remain a strong team with good players, even in attack. They have good players, but we have more experience than them. It was a pleasure playing against them and I believe they need a bit of improvement to reach another level.

“They drew against Algeria and fought hard against Senegal. I wish them good luck next time and I would want them back at the finals. It was not an easy game.”

Katsande was not part of the team that thrashed Liberia 3-0 in the first game of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, which was led by hattrick hero Knowledge Musona, but with Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo next in line, there have been calls for the experienced players to be considered.

Already, Warriors coach has recalled Costa Nhamoinesu and Nyasha Mushekwi, who were overlooked for that match against Liberia and Katsande says he would have returned to the national fold if the coach felt he needed his services.

“I would love to come because my national team is the reason why I am here at this stage of my career. If the coach wants me I have to talk to him, in person first, before he considers me. I think we have a great team that can upset anyone who comes our way,” he told The Herald from his base in Johannesburg.

“Honestly speaking, they are doing well (the current crop) I would not want to compare them with myself. Glory days need to be back, we need to make sure the fans have the same feeling, as before, when it comes to national team games.

“We all know football controls our lives, the best way is to give those fans good memories.’’

Katsande said he never really cursed himself for his decision to call time on his international career after the end of their Gabonese adventure because he always feels he has done his part for the team.

“I never felt anything at all because I have achieved my objectives as a player and as a captain. During our qualifications (2017 AFCON) we gave lots of millions hope in our national team again.

“Everyone was talking about how our generation was good and we managed to fulfil the dream with an AFCON qualification, only World Cup qualification will surpass that achievement. We had a good and solid team (that) needed to be kept together, from players and technical point of view.”

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