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Injuries rock Zimbabwe Warriors camp

by Staff reporter
03 Jan 2016 at 09:53hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE's preparations for a fourth consecutive appearance at the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) continue to suffer setbacks, with the latest one being the pullout of three key players.

With captain Danny Phiri (ankle) already ruled out together with Hwange goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya (shoulder), the team resumed training yesterday morning without new FC Platinum winger Hillary Bakacheza, Chicken Inn midfielder Tafadzwa Kutinyu and defender Teenage Hadebe.

Bakacheza had been training through the pain, hoping that he will eventually recover before the Warriors' first match on January 19 against their bogey Zambian neighbours, but the soccer star finalist lost his battle when he aggravated the injury in training on Tuesday.

Kutinyu has been withdrawn from camp after suffering a groin injury and was not part of the team that resumed camp yesterday morning after a short New Year's Eve day off.

Hadebe, who has been a fixture in National Under-23 side as well as the local ensemble of the Warriors, thanks to his good showing at the heart of Highlanders' defence, was largely expected to start for the Warriors in Rwanda. However, he has also been ruled out due to family commitments.

Phiri's prospects of leading the Warriors to the Chan finals were always in doubt after he suffered an injury in the EasyCall Cup final against Highlanders and coach Pasuwa appeared to have already started planning for life without the Castle Lager Soccer Star of the year.

But it is the loss of the attacking duo of Bakacheza and Kutinyu that has left Pasuwa with a handicap as he seeks to better a semi final berth that was achieved in South Africa by the class of 2014.

Expectation, however, is still abound among the Warriors' faithfuls who are encouraged by the 2014 near miss, leaving Pasuwa with the task of making do with what he has in camp.

The coach appeared buoyant yesterday, saying he expected such setbacks on the back of a grueling season in the local premiership. He said the squad that is still in camp will cope without the five that have been forced out.

"We will just do our best with the 27 players that we have in camp," said Pasuwa after yesterday's morning training session.

"As a technical team we expected these setbacks along the way, especially coming from a grueling season that these players have had, and so that is why we had an enlarged squad of 32.

"That is the same reason why I even resisted calls to trim the squad, because what that would have meant is starting afresh.

"Of course we are disappointed that these five have pulled out because we wanted them, but at the same time you have to appreciate that the remaining guys were not here to make the numbers.

"They are in camp on merit and I have no doubt that they have what it takes to go all the way to the final," said the four time league title winning coach.

With the Chan tourney exclusively meant for locally based players, chances are that Pasuwa's plans can be further disturbed by foreign clubs who are scouting for local talent.

Highlanders' gunslinger and 2015 Castle Lager golden boot winner, Knox Mutizwa is a targeted by South African club Bidvest Wits and with the January transfer window officially open, more players may attract foreign suitors.

Flame Lily striker, Moses Demera is reportedly a wanted man in China by an as yet unnamed club. He has however  agreed terms with Champions Chicken Inn and a move to the east  looks unlikely.

Pasuwa said he is aware of the threat posed by foreign clubs but has been assured by his men that none amongst them is working on a foreign move.

"We talked to the players and asked them if there was foreign interest in them but only Knox and Moses spoke of trials (in South Africa and China respectively) being arranged for them."

"The rest have assured us that they are here for now and available for Chan so we don't expect anybody to leave," said Pasuwa.

Source - sundaymail

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