Former Zimbabwe Warriors and Orlando Pirates central defender Zvenyika Makonese returns to action this Sunday when his club Shabanie Mine host Monomotapa in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Mandava Stadium.
Makonese, who completed his return to the asbestos miners a few hours before the closure of the mid-season transfer window late last month makes a comeback at Maglas after spending seven seasons playing in the South African top-flight league.
For the past four weeks, Shabanie coach Luke Masomere was reluctant to give Makonese a run because of the defenders’ low-match fitness levels.
Masomere even admitted the 34-year-old defender was still below the level he requires, but will be forced to throw him into the fray because his squad was injury-ravaged.
“Zvenyika Makonese is definitely going to play this Sunday when we play Monoz. He is not yet as match fit as I would have wanted and I would rate him at about 50% fit, but as you know my squad has got a lot of injuries. He can play for 45 minutes or even last the entire match. However, I would like to say he is a major boost to our team because his experience in undoubted,” said Masomere.
Makonese, who had a five-year stint at Cape Town Santos and only made one start in the past two seasons he spent at Soweto giants Orlando Pirates, is likely to partner Boniface Dimanji in central defence.
Shabanie go into Sunday’s match injury-plagued with key players like Rowen Nenzou, Caleb Masocha, Artwell Nyoni, Michael Mageja and Junias Chizororo doubtful starters.
Masomere’s tenure of four games at the helm has so far yielded as many points out of a possible 12 since taking over from Arnold Jani late last month.
Injuries to key players have haunted the Chinda Boys in the last two matches against Gunners at home and Dynamos in Harare which all ended in defeats.
“The good thing is that the fans know what is happening at the club. They know all these problems and injuries and I would like to urge them to remain calm and support us in our fight to survive relegation,” Masomere said.
The Taurai Mangwiro-coached Monomotapa are unbeaten in five games running and have shared spoils a staggering 13 times, placing themselves on position eight with 28 points.
In the reverse fixture in May, Shabanie held Monoz to a 1-1 draw in Harare.
Despite the injuries, Masomere still has options in Tarisai Rukanda, Tafadzwa Mombeshora and anchorman and skipper Simon Shoko.