Bunjira: It's Time For Musona And Billiat To Come Out Of Forced Retirement
Former Warriors midfielder, Alois Bunjira, has urged Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat to reconsider their retirement from international football now that the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has new management.
His remarks came after the Federation of International Football (FIFA) had lifted the suspension on Zimbabwe and appointed a four-member normalisation committee to take over the day-to-day running of ZIFA until June 2024. The committee is composed of chairperson Lincon Mutasa, Sikhumbuzo Ndebele, Rosemary Mugadza, and Nyasha Sanyamandu. Mutasa, a former Dynamos chairman, Mugadza, a former Mighty Warriors coach, Ndebele, a former Highlanders defender, and Sanyamandwe, a member of the British Sports Lawyers Association and a legal practitioner, were selected to serve on the committee. The suspension of ZIFA has been in effect since Monday 10 July 2022.
In a Facebook post seen by Pindula News, Bunjira expressed his belief that the tried and tested duo of Musona and Billiat would play a critical role in Zimbabwe’s quest to qualify for the World Cup. With limited time for preparation, he believes it is necessary to rely on established players to increase the team’s chances of success. He said:
Now that international football is back, we have a normalisation committee to steer football forward, after the dark days of the past years, and Zimbabwe being placed in a fair World Cup group C, I think it is a perfect platform for Captain Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat to come out of their forced retirement and carry the torch with the warriors for one last push, while we sort out our development structures, to groom their future replacements.
We all know why Musona and Billiat retired from the Warriors. All that is sorted now. The culprits are gone. Between now and the World Cup qualifiers, we don’t have time for experiments. I believe we now have a committee that will put in place our junior national teams where younger players are developed and groomed for the Warriors. We also have the CHAN and COSSFA tournaments where experiments and grooming is done. The Warriors is a product and window of what has been developed.
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Bunjira believes that Zimbabwe has been drawn into a reasonably fair group for the World Cup which is comprised of Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Lesotho. He believes that with the inclusion of all the best players on the team and proper preparation, the country can put up a good fight. Additionally, he emphasised the importance of tapping into the deep reserves of football talent in the diaspora, across the world.
Billiat retired from international football after Zimbabwe’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in November 2021. A highly regarded player for the Warriors, he scored important goals, made assists, and displayed crowd-pleasing dribbling skills. It was expected he would retire after the AFCON finals in 2022. While he stated that he was retiring to allow other players a chance to represent Zimbabwe, there were rumours that he quit over the manner the team was being governed.
Knowledge Musona, known as “The Smiling Assassin,” announced his retirement from international football on Thursday, 19 May 2022. The Saudi Arabia-based striker stated that he is quitting the Warriors to concentrate on his club career and to allow other players a chance to represent Zimbabwe.