BY FORTUNE MBELE
TANZANIA-BASED defender Bruce Kangwa is thrilled to be back in the Warriors squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ghana after a four year absence in the national team setup.
The 33 year-old former Highlanders captain was one of the surprise inclusions in interim Warriors coach Norman Mapeza’s squad for the back to back Group G matches scheduled at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium and the National Sports Stadium in Harare on October 9 and 12 respectively.
Kangwa’s international career appeared to have been over after a four year absence from the national team setup.
He last played for the Warriors in 2016 during the qualifiers for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament hosted by Gabon in 2017.
The forgotten left-back was also part of the squad for the continental showpiece which proved to be his last outing in national team colors until last week’s recall by Mapeza which he admits caught him by surprise.
Although the ex-Bosso star does not know what he did to earn selection into the Warriors he declared that he still has what it takes to perform at the top level in international football and is relishing the opportunity to justify his inclusion in the squad.
“It’s difficult to assess or judge myself to say this is the reason why I have been selected but the truth lies with the coach (Mapeza). He knows best why he believes in me,” Kangwa said.
“If I’m given an opportunity to play against Ghana, I will do my best to show that it was not by fluke that I have been recalled to the national team. I am very grateful for the trust that has been shown to me to represent my country. It is every footballer’s wish and desire to be called up for national duty. It’s a great honour to be called up again,” he said.
Kangwa, who has established himself as a legend at Tanzanian club Azam will not be in unfamiliar territory in the national team setup.
In his previous spell in the Warriors’ camp he played alongside the majority of the players who are still part of the team such as current skipper Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat, Marvelous Nakamba Onismor Bhasera and Kudakwashe Mahachi.
Kangwa is an attack minded left back who has a knack for scoring important goals, a trait he perfected during his time at the Bulawayo giants.
Over the last few seasons he has established himself as one of the most consistent players in the Tanzanian top flight league.
Although Kangwa has been playing regularly for his club he will face some stiff competition for the left back role where he will compete with the South Africa-based duo of Divine Lunga and Onismor Bhasera.
The England-based duo of Brendan Galloway and Jordan Zemura also play at left back for their clubs but are likely to be deployed in different roles as Mapeza looks to utilise their versatility.
Despite the poor start under former coach Zdravko Logarusic, Kangwa believes the Warriors still have a chance to make it to Qatar next year for the Fifa World Cup final.
The Warriors are winless in the first two matches after being held to a goalless draw by South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at home and losing away to Ethiopia after conceding a last gasp penalty.
“It will take believing in ourselves for us to qualify for the World Cup finals. We can make it. What is important is to have a positive mindset and belief because anything can happen in football,” Kangwa said.