Harare (AFP) - Star Khama Billiat and fellow midfielder and captain Willard Katsande are among eight South Africa-based footballers chosen by Zimbabwe for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
The 'Warriors' will be the outsiders this month in Group B, where they will play former champions Algeria and Tunisia, and Senegal, with the top two finishers advancing to the quarter-finals.
It will be the third appearance by Zimbabwe in the tournament -- they were eliminated after the first round in Tunisia in 2004 and suffered a similar fate in Egypt two years later.
Wide attacker Billiat was a key player for South African club Mamelodi Sundowns when they won the CAF Champions League for the first time last year.
He is one of three finalists for the Africa-based Footballer of the Year award, which will be announced in Abuja late Thursday.
Should he succeed, former Harare clothing store worker Billiat will become the first Zimbabwean to win a major CAF individual award.
Katsande from popular Soweto club Kaizer Chiefs fulfils an 'enforcer' role, positioning himself in front the central defenders to thwart attacks.
Goalkeepers: Donovan Bernard (How Mine), Takabva Mawaya (ZPC Kariba), Tatenda Mkuruva (Dynamos)
Defenders: Teenage Hadebe, Lawrence Mhlanga (both Chicken Inn), Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport Utd/RSA), Bruce Kangwa (Azam/TAN), Oscar Machapa (V Club/COD), Elisha Muroiwa (Dynamos), Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague/CZE), Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS Utd)
Midfielders: Kudakwashe Mahachi, Danny Phiri (both Golden Arrows/RSA), Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns/RSA), Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA, capt), Marvelous Nakamba (Vitesse Arnhem/NED)
Strikers: Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens/SWE), Cuthbert Malajila (Wits/RSA), Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang/CHN), Knowledge Musona (Ostend/BEL), Tendai Ndoro (Orlando Pirates/RSA), Evans Rusike (Maritzburg/RSA), Mathew Rusike (CS Sfaxien/TUN)
Coach: Kallisto Pasuwa