More injury woes for Warriors

HARARE - Zimbabwe football coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels has been forced into making another injury-inspired change after Highlanders midfielder Masimba Mambare joined the squad for next Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier away to Egypt.

Pagels, preparing for his first competitive assignment as Warriors coach, has seen his decision to name only 18 players backfire on him terribly as injuries to players have forced him into making changes to his original squad.

Mambare, who was part of the team that beat Botswana 2-1 in an international friendly match in February, is coming into the fold as a replacement for Moroka Swallows defender Gilbert Mapemba, who is carrying a knee injury.

Mapemba, alongside Monomotapa’s Nicholas Guyo and Mambare, had earlier been included into the squad albeit on standby basis.

The former CAPS United fullback was this week called to replace Quincy Antipas, who has been left out of the squad because of a recurrent Achilles injury but it has emerged the hard tackling defender is currently nursing a knee injury.

Warriors team manager Sharif Mussa confirmed the developments yesterday.

“I can confirm that Mapemba will not make the trip to Egypt because he is actually on treatment because of a knee problem. Mambare is now officially in since he was placed on standby,” Mussa said.

“We are now left with one guy on standby (Guyo) and with the way things are going, we are not sure yet whether he will be drafted in the event that there are further changes before our departure.

“The injuries to Antipas and Mapemba are obviously a blow to the team, but football is one such game where everybody stands a chance until the final whistle.”

Pagels has been forced to make several changes to his original squad because of injuries. Kaizer Chief’s Matthew Rusike was the first to be dropped following a groin injury and he was replaced by Ajax Cape Town midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike.

Supersport United striker Simba Sithole was also ruled out after he picked an injury while in action for his club, which prompted Pagels to call Belgium-based Ovidy Karuru.

Karuru, controversially frozen out from the Warriors under Rahman Gumbo, had also been initially overlooked for selection when Pagels named the team to do duty in Egypt.

Mussa said the team is likely to depart tomorrow and will link up with South African based players in Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa.

“We will leave here tomorrow and we will pick South African based players in Addis Ababa. The Europe-based players will fly directly from their respective bases and will arrive in Egypt the same time,” added Mussa.    

While the Pharaohs have a maximum six points from two matches, the Warriors have one, after a home loss to Guinea and an away draw in Mozambique, and need to win in Egypt to turn around their campaign. - Godknows Matarutse

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