CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe feels Hardlife Zvirekwi still has a lot to offer to the team despite his condition where he plays without part of his arm after he was amputated following a car accident in March this year.
BY HENRY MHARA/GARISH PHIRI
There were doubts whether the utility player would be able to make a comeback and play professional football after the car crash.
However, the 2016 Soccer Star of the Year made an emotional return last Saturday when he was introduced in the team’s game against Harare City at Rufaro Stadium, to the delight of the club’s supporters who all rose to salute him.
Since then, football stakeholders have been divided, with cynics raising concerns over the player’s safety when playing without the other part of his hand.
Their emphasis is on the player’s lack of balance and agility when landing and in tackles.
However, it appears the Green Machine camp is not worried by the dangers that might befell their shipper, with Chitembwe expressing delight in the return of our of their most loyal players.
He feels the player still has a big part to play in the team, especially at this stage of the season whey they are desperate to collect as many points as possible in their bid to close the gap that has been opened by the leading teams.
“Zvirekwi has always been one of us, he is back and the good thing is he is part of the team. He is back to what he is supposed to be doing,” Chitembwe said, revealing that Zvirekwi will soon resume his captaincy duties.
“We are happy to have him back. He has shown great tenacity. In as far as I am concerned, he is an inspiration to some players and I am sure some will learn from him. He has never missed training since he recovered. That shows that he has very strong mental attitude,” Chitembwe added.
He is unlikely to make a start when the Harare giants host giant slayers Bulawayo Chiefs at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow, as he is expected to be infused gradually back into the team.
The Caps United supporters should expect another cameo appearance for the defender and midfielder.
Chitembwe expects a tricky contest against a team that has already pummelled some of the giants this season, including beating log leaders FC Platinum, second-placed Ngezi Platinum and Highlanders.
“No games are easy. We are anticipating a good game. But all the same, I am sure we have the responsibility to perform and we just have to make sure we do what we are supposed to do. We will go out there to compete and get a good result,” he said.
Chitembwe will be without defender Dennis Dauda, who is sidelined by an injury.
The game is one of the three matches lined up for tomorrow, with the country’s other two big teams also in action. Dynamos are away to struggling Shabanie Mine, looking for their first win against the Zvishavane-based side.
Morale is at its lowest in the Chinda Boys camp, with players reportedly going unpaid for months now, and it was evident when they were hammered 5-0 last week. This could be the opportune time for Dynamos to visit and try to break the jinx.
Free-falling Highlanders will be out to arrest their recent poor run when they host an unpredictable Herentals at Barbourfields Stadium.
Bosso have lost their last three, winning one in their last five, a run that has seen them falling to seventh position on the log.