HIGHLANDERS’ central defender Chalton Siamalonga is out for two weeks and will miss the first 2018 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie against Black Rhinos at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday due to injury, while youthful striker Thabo Lunga will have to pass a late fitness test.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Team doctor Hillary Tshuma said in the squad of the 30 players that coach Madinda Ndlovu had assembled, only three had major problems, while the rest were fit for the game against the army side.
Striker Godfrey Makaruse and Nigel Makumbe, who missed the last two games in pre-season have been passed fit.
Striker Timothy Zivave has been ruled out for six weeks following a head injury sustained in training.
“Timothy Zivave sustained a compound fracture after he collided with another player. He had to go for surgery in Harare to wash out the sinus on February 9. He is on his fifth week of recovery and he will be out for six more weeks,” he said. “Godfrey (Makaruse) is now fit and has joined the rest of the guys. Nigel (Makumbe) had a sprain on the ankle and is now feeling better and is training. Thabo (Lunga) sprained his right ankle and he will have to undergo a late fitness test. Our bill of health is not that bad, it’s just two or three out of the 30 guys who have a big problems. Charlton (Siamalonga) had a knock and he is resting but should be back soon.”
In the absence of Siamalonga, Tendai Ndlovu could bounce back in central defence to partner Peter Muduhwa, while MacClive Phiri and skipper Honest Moyo take their positions on the full-backs.
Coach Ndlovu said he rested some of his players in the 1-0 win against Masvingo United at Mucheke Stadium in a friendly match, which was their last preparatory tie before the start of the season.
“We rested most of our senior players because of the hectic schedule that we had. We used some of the boys that had not had game time so we would be in a clear picture as to how ready all the players are to kick-start the season,” Ndlovu said.
Highlanders played new boys Nichrut, Chicken Inn, Dynamos, Caps United and Masvingo United in pre-season.
Rhinos have roped in former Highlanders player Allen Gahadzikwa and ex-Dynamos midfielder Masimba Mambare who could trouble Highlanders on Sunday.