MIGHTY Warriors coach, Shadreck Mlauzi has revealed his star striker Rudo Neshamba (pictured) might need to undergo surgery to cure her troublesome knee.
BY HENRY MHARA
Neshamba has a persistent knee injury, which might force her to sit out of this Sunday’s African Women Championships first round second leg football qualifier against Tanzania at Rufaro Stadium.
The 24-year-old sustained the injury when she was still in primary school and has been carrying it ever since.
But despite the persistent injury, she has risen to become the team’s star player, who they cannot do without.
Her stock shot even higher when she netted two goals against Cameroon that helped Zimbabwe qualify for the Rio Olympic Games, the second time a team sport from the country made it to the grand stage after hockey’s “Golden Girls” qualified for the 1980 Moscow Games and went on to win gold.
Mlauzi would have wanted to travel with a fully fit Neshamba to Brazil, but said he could not risk having surgery done on her before the big tournament.
“She has been carrying the injury for quite some time now and I would have wanted to have it corrected. She needs surgery for the good of her career going forward and also for the national team,” he said.
“I would prefer to have it done after we are done with the major assignments coming up. We are going to the Olympics in August and we also have a good chance of qualifying for the African Women Championships finals later in the year. She has been a very integral part, if not the main part, in that so it would be disappointing for her to miss the tournaments.
“She is a very crucial member of the team. Her intelligence on and off the ball is key, especially in big matches. As the technical team, we are appealing for well-wishers to help her so that she can have the surgery. She did the nation proud when she scored the goals that qualified us to the Olympics and I think it’s time for the nation to also give back to her by assisting her to get the surgery done.”
Neshamba scored three goals in the qualifiers, including the ticket clincher against Cameroon in the 1-0 home win, to finish second in the qualifying rounds.
Mlauzi said they were monitoring her and a decision on her availability for the match would be made tomorrow.
Zimbabwe carry what appears a comfortable lead going into the match, having scored two away goals in their 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture in Dar es Salaam. Striker Erina Jeke scored the two goals.