Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
Warriors suffered another blow yesterday with the withdrawal of defender Costa Nhamoinesu from the squad that is set to play at the COSAFA Cup in South Africa. Nhamoinesu became the second key player to be ruled out after skipper Knowledge Musona, who is still expected to take a fitness test.
Zimbabwe left for Polokwane in the morning by road yesterday.
But they could not travel with the Czech Republic-based defender, who was pulled out as a precaution, following a recommendation by his team Sparta Prague.
The Czech Republic side feared that Nhamoinesu, who missed the better part of the season because of knee problem, could aggravate the injury.
The defender is now expected to report back at Sparta Prague over the weekend where plans have been made for him to travel to Germany for further treatment.
Team manager Wellington Mpandare confirmed yesterday that Nhamoinesu had been dropped and was replaced by Yadah Stars centreback Jimmy Dzingai.
The Yadah man will provide cover for Wales-based Alec Mudimu and FC Platinum’s Kevin Moyo in central defence.
However, the development was a setback for coach Sunday Chidzambwa who had wanted to see all his players in competitive games as part of the build-up to the AFCON qualifiers coming up in September.
Nhamoinesu had earlier praised the talent in the Warriors camp for the COSAFA tournament and the idea behind using the regional stage to prepare for AFCON qualifiers coming up in September.
“We have a lot of talent and we have a lot of good players like Musona or Khama Billiat. These are players who can change things in a game, the type who can play in any team.
“Their availability is a big advantage for us. So if we see them in the team then we are positive that something can come out of it (at COSAFA).
“I am sure the coaches know what they are doing. They know the players they call for duty because they are the ones watching them and I believe in them.
“So what we have to do is come together as a group and work towards one goal, which is winning games.
“The COSAFA tournament will help our AFCON preparations in a big way because this is when the players get to be together and for the coaches get to assess whatever they want to assess and come up with their plans.
“Besides, it’s also good to be together as friends, speaking the same language. Throughout the whole year we are in different parts of the world with different people, but now we are back and we are all Zimbabweans, which is something that we are proud of,” said Nhamoinesu.
The Warriors begin the tournament at the quarter-final stage on Sunday when they face the winner of Group B preliminary round which features Botswana, Mauritius, Malawi and Angola.
The Warriors were yesterday promised $1 000 each by their all-weather friend Walter Magaya if they manage to retain the regional title.
Once again, Magaya opened the doors to the Warriors to use the facilities at his Yadah Complex in Prospect to prepare for the tournament.
Coach Sunday Chidzambwa was satisfied with the preparations.
“At least we had a couple of days with a couple of players to try and see how the combinations go and I am quite pleased with the time that we had in camp.
“We had more than five days to prepare. We also managed to play a practice game against Yadah. It’s the best camp we had since we started. I wish I can bring the trophy home.
“I don’t want to put myself under pressure. We are the current record holders. We will go out there, play for our country, fight to retain the trophy. But you know what happens in football, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose,” said Chidzambwa.
Goalkeepers: E. Sibanda, T. Shumba, G. Chigova.
Defenders: K. Moyo, D. Lunga, A. Mudimu, T. Chimwemwe, J. Mukombwe, J. Dzingai
Midfielders: T. Chawapihwa, M. Munetsi, O. Karuru, K. Billiat, R. Hachiro, L. Mavunga, R. Kutinyu.
Strikers: T. Kadewere, A. Amidu, T. Dzvukamanja, E. Rusike