Striker Clive Kawinga has been ruled out of the Warriors’ second African Nations Championships (Chan) match against Ghana Wednesday night following a thigh injury sustained in the opening game against Niger.
Kawinga collided with Niger goalkeeper Saminou Kabara Rabo in the second half leading to the injury.
He sat out Monday’s training and team doctor Nicholas Munyonga later confirmed that the striker, who played a brilliant game against Niger in the 1-0 loss, will miss the match.
Kawinga was twice denied by Rabo in the opening match.
“He suffered what we call a dead leg syndrome after clashing with the goalkeeper, leading to a crashing of the muscles. We are working on him, but what is certain is that he will not be ready by Wednesday .
“There is a marked improvement in his condition though,” said Munyonga.
Kawinga was naturally devastated.
“I was hoping to carry on from where I left but unfortunately I have to miss out. My aim was to score a goal for my country.
“The guys are working very hard and I believe whoever will take my place will have a good game and will score.
“Ghana is a good team, but they seem to tire early, particularly in the second half, so it is very critical that we capitalise on that and get an early goal in the opening minutes of the game and finish them off in the second half,” Kawinga said.
Kawinga was denied in the opening three minutes of the second half against Niger when his header was palmed away by keeper Saminou Kabara Rabo, while Eric Mudzingwa hit the upright with a header in the 71st minute.
Kawinga was again denied 10 minutes from time when his header off a Joel Ngodzo cross from the right was parried for a corner as the Warriors chased the elusive equaliser.
In his absence, acting head coach Madinda Ndlovu is likely to throw in 2010 Premier Soccer League top goalscorer Norman Maroto into the fray ahead of Under-23 striker Simba Sithole.
Goalkeeper and captain Washington Arubi suffered a shoulder injury, but trained yesterday while Guthrie Zhokinyi, Charles Sibanda and Brian Mapfumo had minor knocks from the opening match but look certain to start against Ghana.
Ndlovu has enough cover in Zephaniah Ngodzo, Bheki Ncube and Daniel Vheremu and David Boriwondo.
The team is training at a pitch 30 minutes drive from the hotel used by a local club but according to Munyonga, it is not good for the Zimbabwean players.
“It is a hard pitch and this is working against us. That is why we pulled out Charles (Sibanda) and Guthrie (Zhokinyi) from the training session because it aggravates their minor knocks.
“The high temperatures are also not helpful and we have advised the players to take three litres of water per day to avoid dehydration,” Munyonga said.