HIGHLANDERS’ new acquisition, Tinashe Makanda, will miss the Bulawayo derby against Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow as he has been ruled out for six weeks after suffering a groin injury in his debut against Nichrut at Ascot Stadium on Saturday.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The former How Mine forward started in the Nichrut game, but only lasted 20 minutes and was replaced by Brian Banda.
Assistant coach Mandla Mpofu yesterday confirmed that on preliminary assessment by the team doctors after the injury, Makanda was ruled out for six weeks, but the technical team awaits new updates on the player’s progress.
“Unfortunately, on the new guys that we signed during the mid-season transfer window period, Tinashe (Makanda) played only 20 minutes and he got injured and we had to make a forced substitution in the last match. After the game, the doctor confirmed that the maximum for him to recover would be six weeks, although we wait for further updates from the medical team,” Mpofu said.
Makanda is likely to be replaced by another new signing Tafadzwa Sibanda, who joined Highlanders from Zifa Central Region Division One side, TelOne.
Sibanda came in for Godfrey Makaruse just after the breather at Ascot and he did not disappoint in his debut.
“Tafadzwa (Sibanda) played a part in the second half. He came from the bench and played 40 minutes. It was an unbelievable performance from the young man. He came in and changed the complexion of the game altogether,” Mpofu said.
Mpofu was in charge at Ascot on Saturday as head coach Madinda Ndlovu was tied up elsewhere, but he will be in the hot seat against the Gamecocks, who have always given Highlanders a headache.
“All is good and I know it’s a derby. We played them in the last game and it was not an easy game. We are playing one of the best teams in the country and they are playing for the championship. It is not going to be easy, but we are working hard and it is going to be a good game,” Mpofu said.
Chicken Inn are chasing the championship and currently sit 11 points behind leaders FC Platinum and have gone seven matches without defeat, with five wins and two draws.
They were held to a 1-1 draw by Ngezi Platinum Stars at Luveve Stadium on Saturday.
After the game against Ngezi Platinum, coach Joey Antipas said: “We would have loved to win this game to keep the pressure on but we are in the same scenario as we were before kick-off. We live in hope and keep on pushing.”
Injured Darryl Nyandoro and Simon Munawa are doubtful starters for the game against Highlanders, but Chicken Inn have George Majika who played a blinder against Ngezi Platinum, the young striker Obriel Chirinda and veteran Obadiah Tarumbwa to look up to.
Struggling Bulawayo City host Herentals at Barbourfields Stadium today while Mutare City Rovers, also in a dangerous position on the log table, visit Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve Stadium.