WARRIORS coach Sunday Chidzambga will now have several options to choose from in the strikers department for the next Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group G qualifier away to Liberia, with the expected return to full fitness of France-based forward Tino Kadewere.
BY HENRY MHARA
The 22-year-old is yet to feature for his new French Ligue 2 side Le Havre AC which he joined in July this year from Djurgårdens IF of Sweden, due to an injury he suffered playing for his old club.
The knee injury kept the highly rated striker out of the Warriors trip to Congo Brazzaville and back-to- back clashes against Democratic Republic of Congo in the Afcon qualifiers.
His absence was felt hard by Chidzambga who had a crisis in the strikers department especially after other Warriors strikers also picked injuries and suspensions.
However, Kadewere resumed full training this week and should be in line for selection when the Afcon qualifiers resume on the week of November 12-20.
He was pictured at his French club base on Monday where he was heavily involved in training with the rest of his teammates.
The former Harare City man announced his return to training on his Facebook account.
“Feeling very good to be back on the pitch again,” a development that was welcomed by his fellow Warriors star Danny Phiri who commented on the post: “Happy to see you back.”
Kadewere’s expected return will be good news for Chidzambga who is also set to welcome back Evans Rusike who also missed the DRC clashes due to injury.
The SuperSport forward led the Warriors frontline against Congo Brazzaville but pulled out of the next matches after picking an injury playing for his South African club.
More good news is that skipper Knowledge Musona who missed the reverse fixture against DRC due to suspension, will also be available for the trip to Monrovia, the venue where the star striker has good memories.
Musona scored his first international goal in Liberia, nearly a decade ago, and since then, he has been the provider every time the team needs goals.
The Warriors technical team has also started processing documents to naturalise England-born striker Macauley Bonne for him to be eligible to play for Zimbabwe.
Knox Mutizwa held the fort in the absence of the other strikers, and although the Golden Arrows player performed well above expectations as the team’s target man in the two clashes against DRC, he is not Kadewere or Rusike.
Left-back Costa Nhamoinesu is the other Warrior who did not participate in the last three qualifying matches because of an injury but he has since started featuring for his Sparta Praha side, and should be available for the trip to Liberia.
Alec Mudimu and Phiri will return after missing the 1-1 draw against DRC on Tuesday night due to suspension and injury respectively.
The bad news is that England-based right back Tendayi Darikwa will be suspended for the next match after accumulating two yellow cards in the last two games, giving Chidzambga a fresh headache.
The two matches were the British-born player’s first official matches for Zimbabwe after receiving his passport last month.
He took over the right back position from Eric Chipeta, who appeared to struggle with his game in Brazzaville.
Zimbabwe could secure their place at the Afcon finals in Liberia, as they need just a point from their remaining two matches.
The unbeaten Warriors, who lead the group with eight points, conclude their campaign with a home clash against Congo Brazzaville, in March next year.
DRC are second on the standings with five points, while Congo Brazzaville and Liberia have four points each.
With two tickets to the Afcon up for grabs in the group, the Warriors can still qualify without the extra point if DRC win their remaining two matches against Liberia and Congo Brazzaville as expected.
Zimbabwe put themselves on a good footing for the 2019 Afcon finals to be held in Cameroon next June following outstanding performances against group favourites DRC.
Chidzambga’s men moved mountains in Kinshasa to come out with a 2-1 win against a hugely talented side, boasting stars such as Cedric Bakambu, Yannick Bolasie and Chancel Mbemba, before holding them to a draw in Harare on Tuesday.
The Warriors remain the only unbeaten team in the group, as they also beat Liberia 3-0 in their campaign opener before securing a 1-1 draw away to Congo Brazzaville in the second match.