More woes for warriors

HARARE - Zimbabwe's preparations for the crucial African Nations Cup qualifier against Angola on Sunday were thrown into further disarray after two key players were still conspicuous by their absence yesterday.

The absence of talismanic striker Knowledge Musona and inspirational midfielder Tinashe Nengomasha will come as a massive blow to coach Rahman Gumbo, who has built his team around these two in the past.

The Daily News yesterday established that Nengomasha is all but out of the tie due to Zifa bungling.

A well-placed source confirmed that Zifa failed to send an invitation letter to Nengomasha’s new South African club, Bidvest Wits.

Nengomasha has recently joined Wits from Kaizer Chiefs and is trying to settle at the Clever Boys.

While the veteran central midfielder is still unquestionably keen on the Warriors, Zifa did not help matters by failing to do the simplest thing of formally writing to his club, as per requirement.

As for Musona, it appears the Warriors management has conceded defeat after team manager Nyika Chifamba admitted he knew nothing of the Germany-based kingpin’s whereabouts.

Chifamba, who until yesterday had been playing hide-and-seek with journalists going about their business trying to cover the team’s preparations, threw tantrums at reporters when asked about Musona’s absence.

After further probing, Chifamba admitted he is in the dark over Musona.

“I have no comment (on Musona) for now. I’m still waiting to hear from him,” Chifamba retorted.

“I have been trying his number everyday and it’s not going through. Maybe he is on his way. I don’t know. We have also tried to communicate with his club. They have a telefax but we have not been able to get through to the officials.”

On Nengomasha, Chifamba said: “I also have nothing to say about Nengomasha. We are also still waiting for him to arrive today.”   

Gumbo’s problems do not end with Musona and Nengomasha.

Goalkeeper and captain Tapuwa Kapini, who plays for South African club AmaZulu, is also out of the tie after he had to undergo a scan on his injured ankle in South Africa.

Kapini’s deputy in recent years, Marlon Jani of Motor Action, has also been ruled out after tearing his hamstring on the first day of training earlier this week.

This has opened the door for rookie goalies George Chigova of local champions Dynamos and Highlanders’ Ariel Sibanda to battle it out for a starting place against the Palancas Negras.

Midfielder Esrom Nyandoro also sat out yesterday’s morning session struggling with an ankle injury.

Team doctor Nick Munyonga hopes the Mamelodi Sundowns man will pass a fitness test.

New Orlando Pirates forward Takesure Chinyama and Mighty Bulls defender Passmore Bernard were visibly limping during yesterday’s training session and constantly needed medical attention.

Munyonga gave an insight into the Warriors injury worries ahead of Sunday’s match.

“As far as Esrom is concerned, he picked up a knock yesterday (Wednesday) and I assessed him this morning and we are just taking precautionary approach. I’m sure he will be ready to train this afternoon and tomorrow,” Munyonga said.

“Takesure complained of some pain in his ankles yesterday and we are also looking at him. It will be quick for me to make any early predication whether he will play or not since we are still monitoring him.”

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