Midfielder Nakamba hurt

BY HENRY MHARA

WARRIORS midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is hurt that he will on Sunday watch from the sidelines as his teammates make a final push to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in a clash against Congo Brazzaville at the National Sports Stadium.

The star midfielder picked a hip injury during a training session with his Belgian league side Club Brugge on March 6, and has been ruled out of action for six
weeks.

But the 25-year-old has travelled to be with his Warriors teammates, and he is in camp as the team prepares for the big clash, where the Warriors need to avoid a defeat to secure a ticket to the finals set for June in Egypt.

He watched the team’s training session in the capital yesterday, and said he was confident that his replacement would do an equally good job.

“I’m hurt and it’s a pity I won’t be on the pitch to perform or compete against Congo Brazzaville on Sunday, but I believe in my teammates. And that is also why I’m here to give support to my brothers,” Nakamba said.

“I’m happy that morale in camp is high, everyone is looking good, working and training hard. They all look ready for the match. There is also unity within the team, which is good. So everything is going on well. The guys are really preparing hard and want to win the match.”

Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambga admitted he would miss the midfielder, who has been a key member of the campaign, featuring in all the previous matches.

However, the veteran coach believes he has capable replacements.

“Nakamba is a key member of the team, and we are going to miss him. But we chose 28 players, and we have able replacements. I feel that the guys who will replace him will do well,” Chidzambga said.

The Warriors’ mentor’s options in midfield were boosted by the return of Danny Phiri, who missed the last qualifier away to Liberia due to an injury.

He has also called up highly-rated Butholezwe Ncube of Amazulu in South Africa, who also plays as a holding midfielder, to widen his selection choices.

But it’s Phiri and Marshall Munetsi who are likely to be given the nod to start on Sunday as the two deep-lying midfielders to provide cover for the defenders.

Otherwise, the Warriors have on paper what looks like a strong squad to get the result that they require to qualify for the Afcon finals.

Zimbabwe lead Group G with eight points, one ahead of Liberia, while the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville have six and five points, respectively.

All the four teams have a chance of qualifying for the finals.

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