Deco still sidelined

HARARE - Warriors captain Danny “Deco” Phiri’s participation at the 2016 African Nations Championship finals in Rwanda remains touch-and-go due to a nagging ankle injury.

The midfield enforcer has not trained since the squad regrouped on Boxing Day as he is struggling with the injury he picked up while playing for his club Chicken Inn in the NetOne EasyCall final against Highlanders earlier this month.

Warriors team doctor Soman Mudariki had hoped to make a decision by yesterday regarding Phiri but they have had to defer making a pronouncement.

In the event the Warriors captain is ruled out of the tournament which starts on January 16 in Kigali, he will be solely missed and it will make life difficult for Zimbabwe to emerge from a tough Group D which comprises Zambia, Mali and Uganda.

“The medical department is still attending to Danny Phiri and they are likely to make a decision a day or two after tomorrow,” Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela told the Daily News yesterday.

Phiri’s injury has been a major concern for Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa since the midfielder is a key member of his squad.

“We are still waiting for the doctors to give us an update on his injury. If you remember Danny last played in the final against Highlanders and until now he hasn’t trained,” Pasuwa said on Monday.

“We have to hear from the doctor tomorrow (today) whether he will be part of the squad going to Rwanda.”

The Warriors are scheduled to play a friendly international against Mozambique as they fine tune for the tournament.

Zimbabwe lost at least a week of training after Zifa sacked Pasuwa and his entire technical department before the association was forced to backtrack on their decision.

“I told you earlier on about friendly matches and my coach has instructed me to probably invite or we go to Mozambique. So our target is to play Mozambique,” Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa revealed on Monday.

“I’m going to talk to my Mozambique counterpart and hear what is his thinking in terms of dates for the match.”

Meanwhile, Zambia have had to release striker Witness Kalengo from their Chan training squad as he is seeking a move from Zesco United.

Kalengo was the top goal scorer in the Zambian Premiership during the just-ended 2015 season and went on to bag the Player of the Year and Most Disciplined Player awards.

The Zesco United forward is believed to be trying his luck with an unnamed Congolese side and if that move fails to materialise Sudanese giants El Merreikh are also said to be interested in his services.

Chipolopolo team manager Lusekelo Kamwambi told the Times of Zambia they had excused Kalengo from camp to allow him time to settle his affairs.

“Kalengo will be with us when he is done with what he is doing hopefully. It is very important to him because it is something to do with his career so we would not want to disturb that. But once he is done he will join us but for now he cannot because he is still held up,” he said.

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