BY HENRY MHARA
WARRIORS striker Evans Katema is doubtful to feature in the team’s African Nations Championship (Chan) final qualifying round against Lesotho at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday after suffering what looked like a serious injury on his arm at training yesterday.
The Dynamos forward dislocated his elbow in the final minutes of the team’s training session and while the medical team managed to return the arm bone back into its socket, it appeared that he was in serious pain.
Coach Joey Antipas is praying that the dreadlocked centre forward would have recovered by weekend.
Joel Ngodzo (pictured) and William Manondo could also miss the match as they were by yesterday still battling to secure passports.
“He dislocated his elbow, so the doctors are monitoring him to see how it goes. It seems the bone came out of its place, but the doctors managed to put it back, so we will see by tomorrow (today) how it is. Otherwise, everyone is ready and willing to go. The guys are fighting for places and we are hoping they continue to work hard, put their bodies on the line and give their all,” Antipas said.
If Katema fails to recover on time, Antipas can call Highlanders’ Prince Dube, who scored a hat-trick in the last round when the Warriors thumped Mauritius 3-1 at Barbourfields Stadium.
Obriel Chirinda and Manondo have been doing well at club level, and could be good covers if called upon.
“In football, you must always have a plan B, so all the other plans are in place. The available players who we have can also deliver. Evans can give us the depth that we need, so it’s a blow, but the other guys are ready to come in,” the Warriors mentor said.
“Preparations for the match have gone well so far, and all the players who we called up are in camp. So we have a difficult choice in our bid to come up with the final squad. I feel that we have good quality players in the squad, so definitely, we are trying to come up with the right combinations.”
Worrying news for Antipas is that midfielder Ngodzo and Manondo have no passports and might miss the match.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mupandare was seized with the matter yesterday as he tried to renew the players’ expired documents, but it appeared he was running out of time.
If they fail to get the passports in time, they will be ineligible to play in the match.
The return leg is in Maseru on October 20, with the aggregate winner qualifying to the Chan finals set for Cameroon in January next year.
The biennial football tournament exclusively features players from the respective national championships, and the competing national teams must be composed of players playing in their domestic league.
Zifa has pegged the cheapest ticket for the match at $10.
Goalkeepers: Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Maxwell Nyamupanedengu (Harare City), Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos)
Defenders: Peter Muduhwa, MacClive Phiri (Highlanders), Ian Nekati (ZPC Kariba), Xolani Ndlovu (Chicken Inn), Partson Jaure (Manica Diamonds), Nomore Chinyerere (Hwange), Lawrence Mhlanga (FC Platinum)
Midfielders: Nqobizitha Masuku (Highlanders), Juan Mutudza (Herentals), Joel Ngodzo, Phineas Bhamusi (Caps United), Ralph Kawondera (Triangle United), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars), Valentine Kadonzvo, Tichaona Chipunza, Sipho Ndlovu (Chicken Inn), Ian Nyoni (Chapungu)
Strikers: Never Tigere (FC Platinum), Wellington Taderera (Black Rhinos), William Manondo (Harare City), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Evans Katema (Dynamos), Obriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn)