Injuries ravage Young Warriors ahead of SA tie

HARARE - Injuries to six key players have marred Zimbabwe’s preparations for Sunday’s first leg clash against South Africa in the Africa Under-23 Championship final qualifier at Rufaro Stadium.

The Young Warriors commenced their preparations at Gwanzura Stadium yesterday with coach Calisto Pasuwa in a spot of bother due to the high number of players in the sick bay.

The squad has been left without a natural left back after Flame Lilly defender Farai Madhananga was ruled out due to a concussion.

Madhananga suffered the injury during his side’s 2-2 draw against Harare City on Saturday and due to Fifa’s new strict guidelines on concussions, he was sent back home for a week’s rest.

Former CAPS United left back Ronald Pfumbidzai, pulled out of the squad as he was instructed by his new Danish top-flight club Hobro IK to report for pre-season training this week.

Pasuwa will now have to rely on versatile Hwange midfielder Pritchard Mpelele to operate at left-back this weekend.

Harare City forward Tino Kadewere is doubtful for Sunday’s match due to a hamstring strain and sat out training.

DeMbare fullback Blessing Moyo is also doubtful for the match with a hamstring injury as well.

Pasuwa is also sweating on the fitness of FC Platinum winger Marshall Mudehwe who is struggling to recover from an ankle knock.

Ajax Cape Town-bound striker Thomas Chideu has a groin problem and was struggling to run properly during yesterday’s workout.

Dynamos winger Carlos Rusere was also running gingerly as he was complaining of back and hip problem.

To make matters worse for the Pasuwa, a number of players have withdrawn from the Sunday’s match.

Dutch-based forward Marvellous Nakamba pulled out of the squad while FC Platinum’s duo of Walter Musona and Wisdom Mutasa are still club hunting in Europe.

Buffaloes’ defender Liberty Chakoroma is highly unlikely to make it in time for Sunday’s match as he is on trials with South African Absa Premiership side Free State Stars.

The only foreign-based star to have joined the squad as of yesterday is Mamelodi Sundowns winger Kuda Mahachi.      

“The number of days we have for training; only four days are not good enough,” said Pasuwa.

“You can see that a number of the boys are injured. They were playing for their clubs at the weekend and half of the team is injured now.

“I also don’t know whether I’m going to get some of these boys who have gone for trails.”

Pasuwa added: “Remember, South Africa have been in camp since last week and they are a better organised side in terms of their play so we need to put everything in place to get a positive result.”

Squad in camp: Knox Mtizwa, Nqobizitha Masuku, Thomas Chideu, Teenage Hadebe (Highlanders), Gerald Takwara (Thsolotsho), Tatenda Mukuruva, Blessing Moyo, Carlos Rusere (Dynamos), Lawrence Mhlanga, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, (Chicken Inn), Criss Mverechena (CAPS United), Pritchard Mpelele (Hwange), Donovan Bernard, Mgcini Sibanda (How Mine), Marshal Mudehwe (FC Platinum) Tino Kadewere (Harare City), Malvin Gaki (Triangle), Jimmy Kanono (Whawha), Kuda Mahachi (Mamelodi Sundowns)


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