WARRIORS striker Evans Rusike will be out for six weeks after picking an injury playing for his South African league side SuperSport at the weekend, ruling him out of Zimbabwe’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group G back to back qualifiers against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in less than a fortnight’s time.
BY HENRY MHARA
The two nations clash at the Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa on October 13, before the return fixture at the National Sports Stadium in Harare three days later — two matches that could potentially decide the winner of the group.
Zimbabwe and DRC are tied at the top of the group standings with four points each after two rounds of matches, although the Warriors enjoy a superior goal difference.
Group G also has Congo Brazzaville and Liberia who have a point each, making the top of the group clash between Zimbabwe and the Leopards very crucial in determining the two teams from this group that will qualify to the Afcon finals in Cameroon next year.
But the Sunday Chidzambga-coached side will go into the two matches without one of their key players in Rusike.
National team manager Wellington Mupandare yesterday said he had been told by the club that Rusike will need at least three weeks to fully recover from the injury.
”He will be out for three weeks, and that means he will play no part in the two qualifiers. It’s a huge blow for the team, but we are confident that those who are available will do a good job,” said Mupandare.
Bidvest Wits striker Terrence Dzvukamanja who had been surprisingly overlooked from the initial 23-man squad announced last week, has been called in as a replacement.
It’s a massive blow for Chidzambga as Nyasha Mushekwi remains unavailable for the Warriors due to an ”injury” despite playing regularly in the Chinese Super league.
It is the same story with defender Costa Nhamoinesu, who excused himself claiming an injury, but continues to feature regularly for his side Sparta Praha in the Czech Republic.
More worryingly for Chidzambga is that his captain Knowledge Musona is seeing very little game time in Belgium, and has made just three starts in six appearances this term.
The good news is that star midfielder Marvellous Nakamba appears to have fully recovered from an injury that kept him out of the Congo Brazzaville clash.
He played the last 30 minutes of Club Brugge’s league match at the weekend, and will be looking for some more time when the Belgian champions face Atletico Madrid in the Uefa Champions League tomorrow..