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#FifaWorldCup2026: Fans Call for Musona, Billiat’s Comeback

After the readmission to the global football family by FIFA, football fans are calling for the return of Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat,...

After the readmission to the global football family by FIFA, football fans are calling for the return of Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat, who both retired from international football, to help Zimbabwe during the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers starting in November.

“I don’t know what forced them to make that decision, and we can’t force them to come back. Of course, it might be a good decision on their side, but to be honest, it’s not the best decision for the country,” a football player told NewsDay recently.

In 2022, FIFA banned Zimbabwe from international competitions over the government's interference, meaning that the country could not compete in age-restricted or international club competitions while local clubs will also be banned from continental interclub competitions.

The Zurich-based soccer governing body had previously threatened to suspend Zimbabwe late last year after the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board was suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) last year over a litany of charges that include corruption and sexual abuse of female referees.

“Consequently, and in accordance with article 13 of the FIFA Statutes, ZIFA loses all its membership rights as of 24 February 2022 until further notice. ZIFA representative and club teams are therefore no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted. 
#FifaWorldCup2026: Fans Call for Musona, Billiat’s Comeback

“This also means that neither the ZIFA nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any development programmes, courses or training from FIFA and/or CAF,” FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura said in a statement.

“Finally, notwithstanding this suspension imposed on ZIFA and in line with FIFA zero-tolerance policy towards corruption, sexual abuse and any other unethical conduct, FIFA reiterates its commitment to cooperating with any ongoing investigations regarding alleged sexual harassment and bribery by ZIFA officials. 

“FIFA will therefore remain at the disposal of the national authorities and plaintiffs with respect to the above during the suspension period.” FIFA then gave the SRC until January 3 to reinstate the board and following a meeting on Thursday, the world governing body resolved to ban Zimbabwe from all FIFA activities.

Musona announced his retirement from the Warriors in May last year after playing for the team since 2010, a period in which he featured 51 times and scored 24 goals. His announcement came two months after Zimbabwe had been suspended by Fifa from international football over third-party interference.

Musona made his national team debut in a friendly against South Africa on 3 March 2010. He is often considered to be one of the finest strikers to ever come out of Zimbabwe. At the 2017 African Cup of Nations, he scored a goal against Tunisia, beating two defenders and smashing the ball beyond the goalkeeper. 

On 11 June 2017, he scored a hat trick to join other Zimbabwean hat trick heroes like the legendary Peter Ndlovu and Vitalis Takawira. Musona announced his retirement from international football in 2022.

It was a decision taken a few months after his close friend and former Warriors teammate Billiat had also announced his exit from the national team.

The team finishing top of the group after the matches will automatically qualify for the World Cup finals to be staged in Mexico, Canada and the United States, while four best runners-up from all the groups will play each other to determine one team which will proceed to an intercontinental play-offs final.

The Fifa World Cup qualifiers in Africa will kick-off in November. Zimbabwean football is currently run by a normalisation committee whose immediate task, as far as the World Cup qualifiers are concerned, is to appoint the Warriors coach. - Online Sources 

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