KAISER Chiefs anchorman, Willard Katsande, has scorned reports that he and other three senior national team players are ‘mercenaries’ who led the player revolt just before the 2017 AFCON tournament, saying he has made up his mind never to turn out for national team assignments again.
Katsande announced soon after the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations expedition that he would not be available for selection for the Warriors, but later rescinded the decision after immense pressure from fans as well as retired national team players who advised him that he still had a role to play for the Warriors.
However, the gritty anchorman told Post Sport this week that he would never again rescind the decision to retire from international football.
This follows a report by our sister paper, The Sunday Mail, in which an unnamed source claimed that Warriors’ interim coach, Norman Mapeza, was ordered not to select the quartet of Katsande, Cuthbert Malajila, Mathew Rusike and Nyasha Mushekwi.
The ban from ZIFA came as punishment for allegedly masterminding the player revolt that saw player national team players boycotting a send-off dinner where the then Acting President Emmerson Mnagagwa was the guest of honour.
Just before the start of AFCON 2017, ZIFA desperately tried to deregister the alleged ringleaders of that shameful revolt, but were turned down by CAF who argued that the deadline for player registration had elapsed.
In an interview this week from his Naturena base, Katsande said he had decided to call it quits and would not be convinced again to play for the national team.
He said he had played for the national team with all his mind, body and soul, but was surprised to be branded a mercenary after sacrificing a lot to play for his nation.
“First, I have made my decision about national team and I said it after AFCON that I am done.
“I have played and achieved my goals with the national team. Everyone saw it.
“The whole of Africa saw my talent and I managed to make it into the AFCON best 11 based in group stages and it is a good achievement for me as individual and as Zimbabwe national team too.
“About not being selected I don’t have a comment about the issue because I was told I am not selected in the media.
“No-one sent me a letter about it. So I can’t comment, but I will support Zimbabwe national team till I die because they made me who I am today.
“Without the Zimbabwe national team I don’t think I would be where I am today,” said Katsande.
Queried about the U-turn he made after announcing that he was retiring from international football, Katsande said: “Yes, I did that (reversing the decision to quit) because of the people from Zimbabwe I met in the streets.
“They showed me love and begged me to keep on playing until the country has my replacement.
“I met Zimbabwean football legends who told me not to retire. “My bosses here told me to keep helping Zimbabwean football grow. “That is how I reversed the decision, but for now I think I have made up my mind.
“I will not go back on it. I will never again be available for selection. No. I have had my time and enough is enough.”