Costa boost for Warriors

Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE international defender Costa Nhamoinesu is back to full fitness and now likely to boost Sunday Chidzambwa’s squad ahead of their back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Democratic Republic of Congo next month.

The gangly defender missed the opening two encounters of the campaign because of injury.

The Warriors took four points from the two matches against Liberia and Congo-Brazzaville in his absence.

Nhamoinesu started for his Czech side Sparta Prague in their recent match after recovering from the injury that had kept him out of the game for close to four weeks.

Sparta beat Baník Ostrava 1-0 to secure a difficult away victory following a 77th minute goal for the visitors.

And the Zimbabwe international was part of the starting XI.

He was later replaced in the 73rd minute, just four minutes before his side scored the priceless goal.

Nhamoinesu suffered a knock a month ago.

The match marked the defender’s successful return from an injury he sustained after receiving a knock last month.

His return to action is definitely good news for coach Chidzambwa, on a week another Warriors star Marvelous Nakamba got back in training.

“It is good news that some players are recovering from injuries after missing the previous match,’’ said the veteran coach.

“It is great news for the country and us as the technical team.

“But, at the moment I cannot say much regarding the team, as we are currently working on the squad which we hope to have completed selecting by the weekend so that the invitational letters are sent on time to the respective clubs.’’

However, Nakamba, who is still fighting to return to full fitness, missed his Belgian club’s opening UEFA Champions’ League group game against German giants Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.

Club Brugge lost 0-1 at home.

The Warriors coach battled with injuries to key players in the last assignment and would want a more competitive squad against the DRC.

The Congolese, just like the Warriors, have four points from their first two matches after a surprise 1-1 draw away in Liberia.

The Warriors will first travel to Kinshasa, where the hosts rarely lose a match, next month, with the match set for October 13.

The reverse fixture will be at the National Sports Stadium three days later under floodlights.

CAF have appointed Egyptian referee Gehad Gerisha to take charge of the encounter in Harare.

He will be assisted by Ahmed Hossam Eldin and Tahssen Abo El Sadat Bedyer, while Ibrahim Nour El Din is the fourth official.

Namibian Shilunga Eratsus is the match commissioner.

The top two teams qualify for the AFCON finals next year and the Warriors are looking at returning to the showcase for the second time in a row.

The national team have a tendency of missing the AFCON finals for lengthy periods, but when they finally qualify, they usually make it to the next tournament.

Chidzambwa ended a 23-year wait for the Warriors to finally celebrate a place at the AFCON finals when he guided them to a success story in 2003.

The Warriors then qualified for the next edition of the tournament in Egypt in a campaign that started with Chidzambwa in charge, before Rahman Gumbo took over and Charles Mhlauri completed the mission.

Gumbo is now one of the assistant coaches in the Warriors technical team.

Chidzambwa will also be monitoring the progress of striker Nyasha Mushekwi, who could be needed given the big defenders likely to be fielded by the Congolese.

Mushekwi says he is injured, a view supported by his doctors in South Africa and back home, but was fielded by his Chinese club Dalian Yifang in their last match just days after pulling out of the Warriors qualifier in Brazzaville.

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