DYNAMOS star striker Christian Ntouba Epoupa (pictured) could be sidelined for weeks after suffering a groin injury in the team’s match against Black Rhinos, dealing a huge blow to the Harare giants’ hopes of challenging for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title this season.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Cameroonian hobbled off the pitch after 68 minutes, clutching his groin and looking in serious pain, in Dynamos’ 1-0 win over the army side on Saturday.
Team manager Richard Chihoro yesterday confirmed the big striker suffered a groin injury, but said they were yet to determine the severity of the problem.
“He has a groin injury. He didn’t train today and we fear he will be out for some weeks. He is receiving treatment,” Chihoro said. “But with groin injuries one needs some rest for them to recover. It’s a huge blow for us because he is one of our best players at the moment and we would want to have him for all our matches,” Chihoro said.
Recovery time for a groin injury depends on the severity of the injury. A mild groin strain may heal within a few weeks, whereas a severe injury may take six weeks or longer to recover.
Athletes are normally encouraged to stop doing activities that cause pain until the groin has fully healed.
Ntouba, who has endeared himself well with the club’s hard-to-please supporters since joining the club at the start of the season, will not be in Dynamos’ matchday 21 squad to face Bigboy Mawiwi’s Hwange at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
He may not be the only injury absentee for the Glamour Boys with goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga still being monitored by the club’s medical staff ahead of the match.
Mateyaunga missed the Rhinos match due to injury and Ashley Reyners held fort, but did very little to convince the Dynamos faithful that he can do the job with some dodgy goalkeeping.
The good news in the Dynamos’ camp is the expected return of Denver Mukamba, who missed the team’s last two matches.
The midfielder was suspended for his team’s match against Triangle and was sidelined by illness against Rhinos.
“He had a bout of flu, but he is looking well now. He trained with the rest of the squad today. He should be available on Wednesday,” Chihoro said.
Dynamos are third on the log standings with 36 points, four behind log leaders Ngezi Platinum, although the former champions have two games in hand against their title rivals.
They are facing a relegation-threatened Hwange side who are attempting to find their feet, following a poor start to their season.
The dismal start cost coach Nation Dube his job and has been replaced by former Harare City gaffer Mawiwi, who has managed two wins in four matches since taking over.
“We know it will be a very tough match against a rejuvenated team. They are desperate for points especially at this stage of the season. It’s the second half of the season and everyone is scrambling for points for different reasons. All the teams always step up their game whenever they are playing Dynamos anyway, but we have become used to it so we will prepare for it the same way we prepare for all the other matches. We are playing at home, and we should be able to get all the three points,” Chihoro added.
The Rufaro double header which had been scheduled for 1 and 3pm for the Harare City, Shabanie match and the Dynamos , Hwange could be moved to evening kick offs at the request of DeMbare.
An inspection specifically for the lighting system was set for last night, which would be used to determine whether the stadium can host evening matches.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures
Tomorrow: Ngezi Platinum v Yadah (Baobab), Harare City v Shabanie Mine (Rufaro 1pm), Dynamos v Hwange (Rufaro), Chapungu v How Mine (Ascot), Chicken Inn v Triangle United (Luveve), FC Platinum v Bulawayo City (Mandava).
Thursday: Bantu Rovers v Black Rhinos (Luveve), ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Nyamhunga), Tsholotsho v Caps United (Dulivhadzimo). All matches kickoff at 3pm unless stated.