War­riors drop duo

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ed­die Chikamhi Se­nior Sports Re­porter

THE War­riors tech­ni­cal team has been forced to drop the in­jured duo of Ter­rence Dzvuka­manja and By­ron Mad­zokere from their plans ahead of the Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fier against Liberia.

The set­back comes just un­der a week be­fore the War­riors fly out to the West African na­tion for the penul­ti­mate Group G game against the Lone Star at the Sa­muel Kanyon Doe Sports Com­plex in Pay­nesville on No­vem­ber 18.

Dzvuka­manja picked a back in­jury in Bid­vest Wits’ win over Mar­itzburg United in the quar­ter-fi­nal of the Telkom Knock­out tour­na­ment, while Mad­zokere, who has been get­ting reg­u­lar calls of late but is yet to play a part in the AF­CON qual­i­fiers, was in­jured dur­ing Yadah’s league game against Bu­l­awayo City last week­end.

The Sout h Africa-based Dzvuka­manja fea­tured in the War­riors’ last match against Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo as a sec­ond half sub­sti­tute as Zim­babwe drew 1-1 with the Leop­ards to ce­ment their place at the top of Group G with eight points.

War­riors team man­ager Welling­ton Mpan­dare yes­ter­day said the pair had to be dropped be­cause there will be no time to as­sess their in­juries since the team will not camp in Zim­babwe.

The for­eign-based play­ers who make up the bulk of the War­riors squad have been in­structed to fly straight to Liberia from their bases.

Mpan­dare said the play­ers will link up with coach Sun­day Chidzambwa and his tech­ni­cal team in Liberia next Thurs­day, three days be­fore the match.

“We didn’t want to risk tak­ing along with us in­jured play­ers, so th­ese two guys are no longer go­ing to Liberia.

“The coaches saw no need. It would have made sense to call them and as­sess them if we were play­ing at home.

“So we are work­ing with the 19 play­ers that we have at the mo­ment and then we will see what hap­pens af­ter the week­end games. We are not rul­ing out chances that there could be more changes if we en­counter in­juries,” said Mpan­dare.

The War­riors have wel­comed back from in­jury the likes of Evans Rusike, who played a cameo for Su­per­sport at the week­end, Tino Kadewere and goal­keeper Ge­orge Chigova who had picked a knee in­jury against DRC last month.

For­mer cap­tain Wil­lard Kat­sande has also been given an­other call af­ter an­nounc­ing he had come out of his in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment.

The gritty Kaizer Chiefs mid­fielder got a huge con­fi­dence boost when he grabbed the only goal in his side’s win over Su­per­sport United in the Telkom knock­out at the week­end.

De­fender Teenage Hadebe and for­ward Khama Bil­liat also played a part for Chiefs. But the big­gest news for Chidzambwa and his crew should have been the par­tic­i­pa­tion of mid­field work­horse Mar­vel­lous Nakamba in a UEFA Cham­pi­ons League group game when his Bel­gian side Club Brugge thrashed Thierry Henry’s Monaco in the mid­week.

The War­riors lead Group G with a three-point cush­ion over sec­ond-placed DRC who have five points. And with two rounds of play re­main­ing, they need just a point to se­cure their place at next year’s AF­CON fi­nals in Cameroon.

The War­riors have had some en­cour­ag­ing statis­tics from their four matches in this cam­paign where they have scored in ev­ery out­ing since the first as­sign­ment against Liberia last year which ended in a 3-0 home win.

Even in the matches that ended in the share of the spoils, Zim­babwe have scored first in ev­ery game and have not gone be­hind their op­po­nents in all the games. They also re­main the only team un­beaten in Group G with two wins and two draws. The War­riors have scored seven goals and con­ceded three.

Mpan­dare said they needed to man­age their travel ar­range­ments to be in good po­si­tion to get a pos­i­tive re­sult in Liberia.

“We ex­pect to be in Liberia by No­vem­ber 15 (next Thurs­day). Most of the play­ers should be in­volved in ac­tion for their clubs prob­a­bly through to late Sun­day evening and the ear­li­est they can get flights is by Mon­day morn­ing.

“By Tues­day they will still be com­ing and prob­a­bly the last play­ers ar­rive here on Wed­nes­day. That’s when we should have a full squad and then Thurs­day we depart.

“So we re­alised that if ev­ery­one comes to Zim­babwe first, that would be ask­ing for too much, es­pe­cially from the Eu­rope-based play­ers.

“For some of the play­ers it, would mean three days of con­tin­u­ous trav­el­ling and it’s very tax­ing. You know with our flights in Africa, that you have to spend hour upon hours to travel from one re­gion to the other.

“So we thought it bet­ter that they rather fly straight to Liberia from their re­spec­tive bases, which is much eas­ier.

“The coaches want all the play­ers to be in the best phys­i­cal and men­tal con­di­tion for the game,” said Mpan­dare.

Ge­orge Chigova (Polok­wane City), Ed­more Sibanda (Wit­bank Spurs), Sim­barashe Chi­nani (Dy­namos)

Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Ron­ald Pfumbidzai (Bloem­fontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Plat­inum), Mar­shall Munetsi (Or­lando Pi­rates)

Wil­lard Kat­sande (Kaizer Chiefs), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Ta­lent Chawapi­hwa (Baroka), Mar­velous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Khama Bil­liat (Kaizer Chiefs), Knowl­edge Mu­sona (An­der­lecht), Rod­well Chinyengetere (FC Plat­inum)

Evans Rusike (Su­per­Sport United), Knox Mu­tizwa (La­montville Golden Ar­rows), Tino­tenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC).

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