JOHANNESBURG — A niggling knee injury has ruled out Zambia defensive midfielder Thomas Nyirenda from the 2012 Africa Nations Cup (Afcon), officials said.
Chipolopolo coach Herve Renard disclosed Nyirenda has failed to fully recover from his recurring knee injury he suffered in September.
“Thomas needs time to recover and he is out of Afcon,” said Renard.
Nyirenda’s injury dates back to September 4 when Zambia beat Comoros 2-1 in a 2012 Afcon Group C qualifying game.
He went on to miss Zambia’s November 15 friendly away to the Super Eagles Chipolopolo lost 2-0 in Kaduna including Chipolopolo’s week-long training tour of India in late November and Konkola Blades 2-1 loss to Power Dynamos in the Barclays Cup final on December 3.
The news means Renard now has the unenviable task of dropping two players from his now provisional 25-man team when he names his squad tomorrow.
Caf regulations allow 23 players only per-team for the biennial tournament to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon from January 21 to February 12.
The Zambia team is currently training in South Africa ahead of the January 21 kick-off of the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Renard has already lost two other players out of Afcon due to injury.
Holland-based striker Jacob Mulenga of FC Utrecht and midfielder William Njobvu of Hapoel Kiryat Shimone in Israel will both miss Afcon due to injury. Striker James Chamanga of Dailan Shide in China is also in a serious race to be fit to make the cut for Renard’s final team this week after sustaining an injury in December.