Zimbabwe captain Willard Katsande has quit international football in the wake of the Warriors’ failed 2017 Nations Cup finals campaign.
Katsande led the Warriors to their first AFCON show in 11 years.
“For me, personally, it was a good experience. I feel it is now time for the youngsters. I feel I need to give way to the youngsters to carry the team forward,” said Katsande.
“Whenever I will be needed, I’m gonna give my assistance.
“For now I feel that what is needed is fresh blood to take on the future challenges.”
He also spoke to Supersport.com.
“I have decided to call time on my national team career after bowing out from AFCON. (There) comes a time where you have to make the hard decisions as you know I am 31 and it’s just the right time to now to fully concentrate on my club career at Kaizer Chiefs.
“We played well, but we have not been consistent, conceding goals despite working hard, but we take back lessons home and hopefully things will be different next time.
“I have given many years to my nation and I want to see younger players follow in my footsteps and hopefully become even better. I have had a great time in the national team and I am definitely grateful about it.”
He said they would have done better had they avoided conceding early goals which put them under pressure.
“When you concede goals in those critical stages of the match, you are bound to lose the game,” he said.
However, Katsande’s statement comes at a time when Tunisian defender Syan Ben Youssef had described the Warriors skipper as one of the best players in the Zimbabwe side.
Youssef said although the Warriors had conceded four goals, they gave them a good match.
“Zimbabwe, led by their captain are a good team. Yes, we scored more goals but they remain a strong team with good players, even in attack.
“They have good players, but we have more experience than them. It was a pleasure playing against them and I believe they need a bit of improvement to reach another level.
“They drew against Algeria and fought hard against Senegal. I wish them good luck next time and I would want them back at the finals. It was not an easy game.”
Former Warriors forward Alois Bunjira said the current generation were just unlucky.
“On a different day, in a different environment, these boys can still bring glory days to this country . . . Let us not be too quick to make irrational decisions in the middle of emotional turmoil.
“Let us not say hurtful things we may find difficult to take back. This is the best group of talent we have had in a long time. A few changes here and there will see us achieving great things.
“A diligent analysis devoid of bias nor favour is required so that we can correct the wrongs and learn from the disaster which is AFCON 2017,” said Bunjira