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Willard Katsande Calls Reports Confirming his Retirement a Misunderstanding

Willard Katsande has come out to refute claims over his retirement from international football.

The Zimbabwean captain who led his teammates on a dramatic strike prior to Gabon Nations Cup seemed to imply in an earlier interview, that his time was up and would pave way for the younger generation, following a disappointing AFCON campaign.

In what portrayed as a farewell statement, Katsande said, “I have played my part with pride. I don’t think there is anyone who can doubt my commitment whenever I played for the national team.

“I might have had bad games, but in terms of commitment, I was always up there. It’s hard to leave, but I have to leave so that we can see other Katsandes out there emerging.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I’m humbled by the support I got from all Zimbabweans during my tenure as the captain. But I have played my part. I have to step aside and pave way for young blood.”[/perfectpullquote]

However, the 31-year-old veteran immediately counter reacted the statement, saying he was misquoted.

Katsande told NewsDaySport that he is actually contemplating on the future of his international career with earlier reports stating his desire to return to the finals despite previous statements.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I have read reports that I have quit international football, but somebody decided to put words into my mouth.[/perfectpullquote]

“I still need to go back and sit down and have a debrief. I also need to consult a few people before I make any decision.

“What is important is to see how I can help the younger players grow into the national team and take over.

“I think we still need to rub on to the next group of players the experience that we have gained from this AFCON final.”

Katsande whose belief in Zimbabwe becoming a dominant force in African football, also added, “Zimbabwe needs to be a regular at these finals and we need to be a dominant force.

“With this in mind, I will have to consult on how I can help before I make any decision.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Having played for the Warriors since 2009, I have gained a lot of experience. So when I decide to step down, there needs to be some form of continuity.”[/perfectpullquote]

Katsande was also critical of Zimbabwe’s performance after finishing bottom of Group B on Monday, despite holding Algeria to a 2-2 draw in an entertaining opener but following reports of his retirement, under scrutiny team coach Callisto Pasuwa – who Katsande credits for a successful career – urged the captain not to quit just yet.

“He has been a pillar in the team, giving guidance and I think he needs to reconsider his decision and come back. He came to me and we spoke about it,” Pasuwa said.




Featured photo: Head Coach Callisto Pasuwa (L) and Willard Katsande (R) at a press conference. Katsande wants to transition Zimbabwe’s football experience to the younger generation. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

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