Zimbabwe Names Final Squad for 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


HARARE – The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), currently led by newly appointed CEO Yvonne Mapika Manwa, and under the stewardship of the Normalisation Committee appointed after the FIFA ban was lifted, continues to make strides in rebuilding the national football team. 

Image: @online_zifa/X

Today, the association announced the final 23-man squad for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, which will see the Warriors facing Rwanda and Nigeria in Rwanda.

The final squad, made up of 22 players selected from the provisional squad of 28 announced on 1 November, has been announced to the public. Notably, Mamelodi Sundowns' defender, Divine Lunga, who wasn't in the preliminary squad, is part of the final selection.

Six players were dropped from the provisional squad and among those not making the cut are Tendayi Darikwa, Brendan Galloway, Tawanda Maswanise, Leon Chiwome, Isaac Mabaya, and Marley Tavaziva. However, some of these players, like Tendayi Darikwa, Brandan Galloway, and Marley Tavaziva, have already secured Zimbabwean passports, indicating their strong commitment to representing their nation in the future.

Tenday Darikwa, a familiar face to Zimbabwean football fans, boasts 13 appearances for the national team, including a memorable presence in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). However, his sudden withdrawal from the 2022 AFCON edition, less than 24 hours after helping his English League One side, Wigan, secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Shrewsbury FC, raised many questions. Similarly, Brendan Galloway, who represented Zimbabwe in a challenging 1–0 loss to Ghana during the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification, continues to be an enigma in the national setup. At just 19 years old, the Brentford academy prodigy is yet to earn his first cap for the Warriors.

The situation of the British trio - Tawanda Maswanhise, Leon Chiwome, and Isaac Mabaya - remains uncertain. It remains unclear whether they have obtained Zimbabwean passports or even formally expressed their desire to represent the nation. Leon Chiwome, currently with Wolves, has shown promise in the England squad for the UEFA U17 EURO, where he was part of a 21-man Young Lions selection for the tournament in Hungary in 2022.

Chiwome plays for Wolves U18s after joining the team from AFC Wimbledon in 2021. Born to a Zimbabwean father and a British mother, he is eligible to play for Zimbabwe, which adds an intriguing dimension to his international prospects. Having previously participated in the U17 qualifying campaign in 2022, Chiwome is however expected to feature in England's final squad for the 2023 FIFA U17 World Cup, which casts a huge shadow of doubt on whether the 17 year old forward will be keen on representing Zimbabwe.

Chiwome himself has expressed his ambitions, particularly targeting the under-17 World Cup in Indonesia this November. We was quoted saying he aims to follow in the footsteps of Morgan Gibbs-White, a former Wolves player who was part of the winning squad in 2017. However, should Chiwome miss out on the England World Cup squad and acquire his Zimbabwean passport , his chances of joining the Warriors set in the future wil increase significantly.

The preparation for the upcoming qualifiers is in full swing, with both local and foreign-based players converging for the training camp. Local-based players have already left for Rwanda, including Gerald Takwara, who is currently playing for the Saudi based club Odod. Prince Dube, who plies his trade at Azam in Tanzania, as well as the England-based duo of Marvelous Nakamba and Admiral Muskwe, have also joined the national camp. The timely inclusion of these have ignited hope and anticipation among Zimbabwean football fans.

So far, the new ZIFA's management has demonstrated a high level of professionalism and in the preparation, call-ups and scheduling of flights for the players, something that has been a challenge in recent years, which sets new standards for future call-up announcements.

As the Warriors gear up for the World Cup qualifiers, the nation watches with great expectations, and ZIFA's commitment to building a formidable national team is evident. The stage is set, and all eyes will be on the Warriors as they embark on their journey to secure a place in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Zimbabwe's squad 


Donovan Bernard (Chicken Inn) 

Washington Arubi (SuperSport United) 

Martin Mapisa (FC Malaga City)


Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders)

Peter Muduhwa (Highlanders)

Frank Makarati (Dynamos)

Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo) 

Munashe Garan’anga (Sheriff Tiraspol) 

Jordan Zemura (Udinese)

Tivonge Rushesha (Reading) 

Divine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns)


Brian Banda (FC Platinum) 

Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims) 

Andy Rinomhota (Cardiff City) 

Marvellous Nakamba (Luton Town) 

Gerald Takwara (Ohod)

Tanaka Shandirwa (Dynamos)


Obriel Chirinda (Bulawayo Chiefs) 

Prince Dube (Azam)

Tinotenda Kadewere (Lyon) 

Admiral Muskwe (Exeter City) 

Walter Musona (FC Platinum)

Terrence Dzvukamanja (SuperSport United)

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