WARRIORS midfielder Marshall Munetsi is set to make a return to the Stade de Reims fold after serving a one-match suspension ahead of the star-studded French football champions Paris Saint Germain at Stade Auguste Delaune tomorrow.
Munetsi missed the club’s last encounter away at ES Troyes, which ended in a two-all draw after he was suspended for accumulating three yellow cards along with teammates Maxime Busi and Dion Lopy.
The 26-year-old versatile player had a blinder of a performance in this fixture last season when he kept out Argentine maestro Lionel Messi who was making his Ligue 1 debut after joining the PSG in the summer window.
And the Zimbabwean star, who has been one of the top performers for Reims, will be looking to hold his own against the deadly trio of Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Junior.
Stade de Reims have been struggling so far this season and are currently in 17th place with seven points from nine matches and just three points above bottom side Ajaccio.
The club will also be without head coach Óscar García, who is still holed up in Barcelona for personal reasons and assistant coach Will Still will take care of the team.
Without giving too much away, Still said the head coach had the club’s support.
“He has all our support and all our love because he’s not having an easy time right now. There is constant communication. Our week did not change. We trained well because the group is very professional at this level. The quality does not diminish. Saturday, we will do our best,” he told journalists during a Press conference yesterday.
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Still also commented on the team’s current position on the log standings as well as the team’s chances against the log leaders and defending champions.
“It’s very frustrating, but there’s no worry or sense of panic. We are aware of the mistakes made in previous matches. But, it’s only us who can change the situation because we’ve never really been in trouble. The group is ambitious.
“We feel more a feeling of regret if we look back to the previous weeks where we lost points that we should not have lost. We want to do well and show our best side at present.
“We are all born competitors. We do this job for these reasons. It’s a pleasant match to prepare for even if we know that the difficulty is great. We are going to play our cards well. We have nothing to lose. We are ready to upset them. There are always flaws in any team,” he said.
But it is the return of Munetsi, who has one goal to his credit in the seven appearances so far, that will excite the Reims technical team.
Before last week’s matches, Munetsi was ranked joint second on the list of midfielders to have covered the most ground in the league at this stage averaging 12km per match.
Clermont Foot 63’s 34-year-old player Johan Gastien had the best statistics averaging 12,2km per game.
A worrying factor for Reims this season is the discipline as they have had to finish the match a man less in six of their nine matches to date and will miss the services of Japanese midfielder Junya Ito who has been handed a two-match ban after he was red-carded against ES Troyes on Sunday.
Munetsi has featured in three of the last six league matches between the two teams since his arrival in France three years ago and has won one of those matches.
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