With the two crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals qualifiers coming up where the Warriors will take on DR Congo in back-to-back matches on October 13 and 16, it has once again brought to the fore the issue of striker Nyasha Mushekwi, who has been playing regularly for his club in China, but is curiously “injured” whenever there is a call from his home country.
This time around, we have also been told that defender Costa Nhamoinesu, who is based in the Czech Republic, has failed to make the squad because of a shoulder injury.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mupandare was at pains to explain the duo’s failure to make it for the two matches in October, failing to provide logical answers.
According to him, Mushekwi has been playing through pain barriers all along and is due for surgery in a few weeks’ time.
“Mushekwi is injured; he has been playing with the injury, but his club can manage the injury better than us. We are not equipped to make him play through the pain, so it’s difficult for us to include him in the team. I have been communicating with his team doctors and they say he is scheduled to go for surgery in Germany in the next few weeks,” Mupandare told our sister paper The Standard at the weekend.
His explanation leaves more questions than answers.
Does Mupandare imply that Mushekwi has to get these injections even for him to manage training because if he needs those for matches, he would surely require them in training.
Zifa should just come clean on Mushekwi. It seems there are other issues at play other than this so-called injury that is preventing the striker from playing for his country.
Mushekwi has been playing week in and week out for Dalian Lifang and scoring on a regular basis. His red-hot form has gotten fans excited, yet we are told the Warriors medical staff cannot manage the injury and that is why he is only available for his club.
The player came to Zimbabwe last month saying he was injured, but flew back to China and played a whole 90 minutes soon after.
If Mushekwi is no longer interested in playing for the Warriors, or if there are other issues that are at play, the football-loving public deserves to know, otherwise the way Zifa has handled the whole issue smells fishy.
The same applies to Nhamoinesu, who last week was said to have aggravated a shoulder injury and could not be called upon. Nhamoinesu played the whole match against Slovan Leberec on Sunday and the week before that, against Banik Ostrava.
So at what point was this shoulder injury aggravated? One can bet that he will feature for his club again this weekend.
If Mushekwi and Nhamoinesu or anybody else has taken a sabbatical from national duty, let it be known to everyone so that the matter comes to closure. This merry-go-round is not helping anyone, least of all the Warriors and the fans.