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Injuries rock Warriors camp

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Warriors’ coach Kalisto Pasuwa was yesterday left sweating over injuries to six key players including skipper Danny “Deco” Phiri and striker Roderick Mutuma ahead of their African Nations Championships showdown against Lesotho at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.

BY FORTUNE MBELE

Kalisto-Pasuwa

Also set to miss the tie is Harare City talisman Talent Chawapiwa, who Pasuwa has since replaced by bringing in the league’s joint top goalscorer, Knox Mutizwa, who was part of yesterday morning’s training session.

Pasuwa appeared a worried man yesterday as some of the players that have been called to camp had not arrived.
Of the 23 players called up, only 18 had, by yesterday morning, trooped into camp in Bulawayo ahead of the first leg of the Chan final qualifier.

Out of the 18 players that went through their paces at White City Stadium in the morning under the watchful eyes of Pasuwa and fitness trainer Majaha Ndlovu, six are nursing injuries, with Phiri and striker Mutuma sitting out part of the session.

The soft spoken coach said he had no idea why Caps United defenders Hardlife Zvirekwi and Justice Jangano, and Dynamos pair of Ocean Mushure and Ronald Chitiyo had not turned up for camp.

Hwange’s Pritchard Mpelele and goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya were said to be on their way to join the Warriors for their afternoon training session at Barbourfields.

Pasuwa said those players who were absent without official leave (AWOL) were not taking national team call-ups seriously.

“Of the 23 players called up, I have 18 in camp. I am told Talent [Chawapiwa] is injured, but I don’t know where the others are. They are not taking national call-ups seriously. Of the 18 that are here, six are nursing injuries probably from knocks from their weekend games with their clubs. Mutuma appears to be [seriously injured]. We will be assessing them as we go on,” he said.

Pasuwa said they were not taking preparations for the Lesotho match lightly as there were no small teams in Africa anymore and truancy by players was disturbing his training programme.

“We are playing Lesotho on Sunday. There are no more small teams in Africa. Lesotho has played in Afcon, Cosafa and Chan, and if you don’t train as a team, you falter. I would have wanted all the guys here. How do I work out my combinations? If the players are called up they should come on time,” he said.

He expressed satisfaction at the accommodation offered to the players, but the injuries and the players who had not turned up for camp worried him.

Some of the players that attended training yesterday morning at White City included five players from Chicken Inn; Phiri, Lawrence Mhlanga, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, joint leading Premier Soccer League scorer Edmore Chirambadare and goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.

FC Platinum’s Brian Muzondiwa and Marshal Mudehwe were also present, as well as the Triangle pair of Malvern Gaki and Tichaona Chipunza.

Also in attendance was the Highlanders quartet of Mutizwa, Nqobizitha Masuku, Teenage Hadebe and Bruce Kangwa.

How Mine goalkeeper Donovan Bernard also showed up.

On playing at Barbourfields, Pasuwa said: “We are here as a national team. We need to spread national football. We should be comfortable playing at BF.”

Match officials from Tanzania will handle Sunday’s match, with Sheha Waziri tasked to be in the middle, while the first assistant is Samuel Hudson Mpenzu and the second is Ali Kinduli.
The match commissioner is Swazi William Makinati Shangwe.

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