Hwange Football Club have suffered yet another setback in their Orange Caf Confederation Cup campaign after failing to travel with influential midfielder Ocean Mpofu, who twisted his ankle in the first leg match against Al Amal Atbara on March 25.
The coal miners clash with Al Amal in the first round second leg of the continental showcase on Sunday at the Stade Al Amal Atbara after they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Colliery on March 25.
Chipangano arrived in Atbara yesterday morning, without Mpofu but technical manager Tennant Chilumba said all was in place as they had replacements.
Speaking from Atbara yesterday, Chilumba said: “We arrived this morning (yesterday) in Atbara from Khartoum. Morale is high in camp. Everything is okay. We can’t complain. But the boys will rest today. We will train today but we are going to have a feel of the pitch on Friday (tomorrow) and Saturday.”
Mpofu grabbed a brace in the 4-1 drubbing of Zanzibar’s Jamhuri at the Colliery to ensure Hwange progressed to the first round of the competition on a 7-1 goal aggregate and his well-taken corner kick was converted by captain Rodwell Chinyengetere to save Hwange from losing the first round first leg tie to Al Amal at home.
Hwange are also without left-back Munyaradzi Mungadze, who was sent off by Malawian referee Raphael Anthony for a second bookable offence, and right-back Tonisani Sibelo, who sustained an injury while taking a free kick in the same match.
Chilumba said he had replacements in Winston Mhango and Kudakwashe Chipere for the crucial match on Sunday.
Hwange lost former Zimbabwe Saints striker Evans Rusike to injury in the preliminary round first leg tie against Jamhuri at Gombani Stadium in Pemba in February, in a match they won 3-0.
Also likely to be on standby for the injury-dogged coal miners is Oscar Lungu with former captain Gerald Ndlovu back in the team after a fallout with the executive during the off-season break.
Ndlovu is partnering David Boriwondo in central defence with Eric Chipeta and Chipere likely to be thrust in the wingbacks.
Mhango is likely to join skipper Chinyengetere, Nkosana Siwela, Farai Vimisayi, Daniel Kamunhenga and Tawanda Mareya in midfield with Allan Tavariswa, Francisco Zvikumbawire, Gilbert Zulu and Tongai Mamina fighting for jerseys upfront.
The match was supposed to be played tomorrow but was moved to Sunday after Caf communicated with Zifa and Al Amal will be footing the bill for Hwange’s extra stay in Sudan.