FC Platinum striker Donald “Dombo” Ngoma has been ruled out while the duo of Michelle Katsvairo and Charles Sibanda are battling for fitness ahead of the team’s first round first leg tie against Sudanese champions El Merreikh at Rufaro tomorrow.
The team’s head coach Rahman gumbo confirmed the non-availability of Ngoma, but was hopeful of Katsvairo and Sibanda’s recovery.
Ngoma, who missed the second leg match against Swaziland’s Green Mamba early this month owing to a toe injury, underwent an operation this week and will be out for some time. Sibanda, scorer of a brace in the team’s 4-0 drubbing of Green Mamba in the return leg at Mandava, is suffering from a groin injury.
“Ngoma is definitely out of the tie after being operated on his toe while Michelle and Charles Sibanda might also miss the tie owing to injuries again. The two players will have to pass a late fitness test,” said Gumbo.
However, Gumbo said they were still looking for a positive result despite the handicap of playing away from Mandava and missing the key players.
“We have played at Rufaro before and came up with positive results. What we need to do is to balance our act because this team is also in for a result as they are playing away from home first,” he said.
Gumbo said though he did not know much about tomorrow’s opponents his vast knowledge of African football would come in handy.
“I have enough knowledge on African football and that is going to help us win the match on Saturday (tomorrow),” he said.
Gumbo has reason to have the confidence as he still has players such as Joel Ngodzo, his brother and captain Zephania, Allen Gahadzikwa, Ali Sadiki and Qadr Amini. Their opponents El Merreikh, who have won their domestic championship on 18 occasions, are seasoned campaigners on the continent but have reached the mini-league phase only once in 2009.
They were also runners-up in the Confederation Cup in 2007, where they knocked out Highlanders in the first round, but have bowed out in the Champions League competition in the first round on numerous occasions. In their ranks, the Sudanese champions have nine international players with seven of them playing for the Sudan national team.
Sudan national team members are goalkeeper Akram El had Salim, midfielders Feisal Musa, Rahman Krango, Omar Moseab, defenders Ahmed Basha and Eldin Abdullah. The team that is coached by Brazilian Heron Ricardo Ferreira also has Zambian national Jonas Sakuwasha and Ivorian Pascal Wawa.