Zimbabwe coach, Sunday Chidzambwa has named a 34-man preliminary squad for the COSAFA Cup and Africa Cup of Nations finals which includes mostly overseas-based players.

In the same vein, Kenya also announced its provisional squad to the tournament, which will come up next month in Egypt.

Zimbabwe are the defending champions from the last two COSAFA Cup tournaments and will also return to the Nations Cup finals for the second time in succession.

The group is headlined by star names such as Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and Marshall Munetsi, with a total of 17 players, exactly half the preliminary squad, based in South Africa.

Others, such as Musona and veteran forward Nyasha Mushekwi, are past PSL players and excelled in the South African league.

Also included are two English based players in Leicester City youngster Admiral Muskwe and Nottingham Forest defender Tendai Darikwa.

Zimbabwe will enter the COSAFA Cup at the quarterfinal stage on June 1, where they will face the winner of Group A, which contains fellow Nations Cup qualifiers Angola, eSwatini, Mauritius and Comoros.

But the country has also set up an away friendly against Nigeria on June 8, the day of the COSAFA Cup decider in Durban, which means the squad will have to be split at some stage.

Kenya named its preliminary squad on Tuesday for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, after qualifying for the continent’s main international tournamnet for the first time in 15 years. 

The 30-man squad announced by coach Sebastian Migne includes Christopher Mbamba and John Avire making their debut for the Harambee Stars in Egypt.

Sweden-based striker Mbamba, 26, made the switch to Kenya after being granted his citizenship earlier this year. He was born in Zimbabwe to a Namibian father and Kenyan mother.

Victor Wanyama, who captains the national side, is expected to join the squad after featuring for Tottenham against Liverpool in the European Champions League final on June 1.

Kenya will hold a nearly three-week training camp in France, including warm-up matches against Madagascar and Gambia, before flying to Egypt ahead of the Cup.

The Stars lost just one of their four qualifying matches under Migne, who said Kenya would “not travel to Egypt as tourists”.

“We are going to look to try and rewrite the history of Kenyan football,” he told reporters. 

Kenya has never won the biennual competition, which for the first time will include 24 teams, up from 16. 

Kenya was drawn in Group C against Algeria, Senegal and East African neighbor Tanzania, who return to the Cup for the first time in nearly four decades.

Cameroon were the original 2019 hosts for the tournament, but delays in preparations and security concerns forced a switch to Egypt, who will stage the tournament a fifth time.