While the COVID-19-induced delay to the start of the Premier Soccer League as well as breaks in most leagues throughout the globe have come as an inconvenience for football in general, for players nursing injuries, the disruptions have bought them more time to recuperate from injuries without missing playing time.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Football teams in Zimbabwe are waiting and wondering when they can finally start the season following a nationwide 21-day national lockdown as the health sector fights to contain the pandemic, which has so far claimed three lives in the country, and more than 116 000 through out the world.
Highlanders striker Prince Dube would have missed the start of the season owing to a hamstring injury, but he is now ready to start the campaign after recovering from the strain.
Dube suffered a muscle strain in a friendly match against Chapungu at Luveve Stadium last month.
The attacker, together with new signing Mitchel Katsvairo, who is also nursing an injury, have been asked to do lighter drills at home during the lock down.
The period has afforded Dube enough rest, which is an integral part of the healing process of a hamstring injury.
“During the first week after the lockdown, I was communicating with the team doctors and now I have fully-recovered and I am fit. I am training at home to keep fit. I am ready, even if the league games were to start tomorrow, I would be good to go. I am always positive,” he said.
His return to full fitness comes as a boost to coach Mark Harrison as Bosso target a flying start to their campaign.
Other players that will benefit from the delay in start to the league campaign include the Caps United duo of defender Method Mwanjali and midfielder Kudzi Nyamupfukudza.
Mwanjali is on the course to recover from a serious knee injury, while Nyamupfukudza is struggling with a knee injury.
Both had been left out of Caps United’s plans for the first half of the season, but the longer the delay in the start of the season, the brighter their chances of forcing themselves into contention for places in the Green Machine squad for at least part of the season.
The Dynamos duo of captain Partson Jure, recovering from head injuries sustained in a car accident about three weeks ago, and Godknows Murwira, who requires a knee operation, will also benefit from the season delay.
Jaure had been ruled out of the first half of the season, but he has been given a 12-week timeline to recover and depending on when the season can begin, DeMbare might decide to register him.
Murwira will finally have a minor operation on his knee, which is expected to be a long-term fix to a knee problem that was also a result of an accident.
Meanwhile, Warriors and Zesco United midfielder Thabani Kamusoko says the suspension of the Zambian Super League due to the COVID-19 pandemic might have come at good time for him as he recuperates from an ankle injury.
The Zambian league was suspended on March 19, and Kamusoko picked up an injury at training in December and had been out of action since then.
“I was injured in December. I sustained an ankle injury at training. Before the league was suspended I was not playing because of the injury, but I am doing well,” Kamusoko said.
“I am recovering well. I would say the suspension of the league and the lockdown has helped me to focus much on my recovery. I have been doing light training and continue to do so at home and hopefully, when football resumes, I will be fully fit.”
The injury would have also have seen him miss the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria which were due last month, but were also shelved because of the coronavirus.
Kamusoko joined Zesco United from Young Africans of Tanzania in July last year and had the honour of playing in the Caf Champions League for the Zambian giants.