ZIMBABWE Under-23 football team coach Kalisto Pasuwa has plunged into Easter nightmare ahead of the trip to Douala, Cameroon, for the decisive All-Africa Games qualifier against the hosts next Sunday with key players being ruled out for various reasons.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Highlanders central defender Teenage Hadebe – a key member of the Young Warriors squad and scorer of the goal that helped the Bulawayo giants overcome Tsholotsho to collect their first three points of the season at the weekend after a 2-0 defeat to ZPC Kariba in the opening match — has been ruled out owing to injury.
The player is reported to have picked an ankle injury during the match. Hwange striker Pritchard Mpelele will also not be part of the travelling squad because he has contracted chicken pox.
Caps United leftback Ronald Pfumbidzai, who also scored in the 1-0 victory over FC Platinum, was also not in camp with his club saying he could be released after their league clash against How Mine tomorrow.
The FC Platinum trio of Kelvin Moyo, Wisdom Mutasa and Walter Musona are also doubtful because the Zvishavane based players are playing in the Caf Confederation Cup against Young Africans of Tanzania this weekend.
After fulfilling the fixture against the Tanzanians, Norman Mapeza’s men who have a date against Flame Lilly on Wednesday next week also have a game in hand against Harare City and with just one point in the bag from two outings, it is highly unlikely they can afford to miss any of their players.
While Pasuwa is worried that he might be forced to travel for the do or die encounter against the west Africans with a depleted squad, he is concerned by the injury to Hadebe.
“The injury to Hadebe has affected us a lot. He is our key center back and his injury means we have a big task to get a replacement for him. We are hoping that we might get Kelvin Moyo as a replacement but then again it is uncertain. We just hoping we might get him before we leave for Cameroon,” said Pasuwa.
To make matters worse Nation Dube who coaches Hwange has been asked to take charge of the team during the Easter holiday fixtures by his employers before joining the national team after his side was hammered 5-2 by Triangle in the opening fixture.
The Young Warriors coach was forced to train with only 14 players at Greendale Sports club yesterday because of poor turn-out.
Pasuwa was expecting a 25 man squad in camp which would be trimmed down to 18 before departure next week.