Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Warriors yesterday flew from Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport for the African Nations Championship second leg qualifier against Lesotho in Maseru tomorrow.
The technical bench headed by Callisto Pasuwa dropped Hwange goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya, Triangle United’s Malvern Gaki, Tsholotsho’s William Sitima and Highlanders’ Nqobizitha Masuku.
Pasuwa took a huge gamble on Teenage Hadebe whom he said was 60 percent fit.
The Highlanders defender has a nagging left knee problem but coach Pasuwa said the gangly central defence rock was a key member of his squad who could not be easily replaced.
“Hadebe is one of our key players, we know we took a risk but we couldn’t leave him behind, the doctors assured us that he’ll be able to withstand his knee injury. We took along players that we thought will be able to provide the physical and mental stamina since we’re playing away and as for Masuku I think he still has an injury because he’s surely not the Masuku I know,” said Pasuwa.
Chicken Inn’s Tafadzwa Kutinyu who played for 60 minutes in the first leg at Barbourfields Stadium was also left behind after sustaining a crack on his foot.
It had to take the experience of the coaches to see that the boy had an injury after he tried to hide it, probably eager to make the return leg trip.
Pasuwa said they will take to the field tomorrow with one objective which is to win.
“As you’re aware that we lost part of our training sessions because of the sit-in so we hope to compensate that by having a session this evening if we arrive on time in Lesotho and then have another one tomorrow at the match venue,” said Pasuwa.
With Lesotho’s interim coach Sheephephe Matete telling the media in his post match interview last Sunday that Zimbabwe were vulnerable on their defensive wings, it would be prudent for Zimbabwe to take the unsolicited advice seriously.
A straight win by Zimbabwe will propel the Warriors to their fourth straight Chan qualification whose finals will be held in Rwanda from January 16 to February 7.
Sport and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane flies out to Maseru today to cheer the boys on as they seek to conquer Africa next year.
Donovan Bernard, Elvis Chipezeze, Ocean Mushure, Blessing Moyo, Knox Mutizwa, Bruce Kangwa, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Marshal Mudehwe, Stephen Makatuka, Teenage Hadebe, Tichaona Chipunza, Brian Muzondiwa, Lawrence Mhlanga, Raphael Manuvire, Edmore Chirambadare, Rodrick Mutuma, Pritchard Mphelele, Danny Phiri