Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter
Charles Sibanda, the 2010 Soccer Star of the Year is among the players How Mine intends to deregister during the mid-season transfer window to make way for Louis Matawu and Fungai Chirinda. Sibanda, who broke his collarbone and ribs, and also punctured his lungs in a car crash last month, will be struck off How Mine’s squad alongside injured left back James Chitereki.
At the time of the accident, Sibanda, a former national team striker, who penned a two-year deal with How Mine at the beginning of the year, had just picked up form.
How Mine coach Luke Masomere yesterday said deregistering Sibanda and Chitereki is meant to give the duo ample time to recover without any pressure.
As a result, the gold miners will no longer wield the axe on other player as Matawu and Chirinda, who spent the first half of the season recuperating from injuries, will take up Sibanda and Chitereki’s slots.
“It’s unfortunate that Charles got injured at a time when he was back in the groove, but such is life and we’ve to soldier on. As for now, he’s out for about eight to 10 weeks together with James, who had also been doing well. As alternatives, we’ll replace them with Chirinda and Matawu as the injured guys will be out for the better part of the second half of the season,” Masomere said.
Sibanda and Chitereki will remain on the miners’ payroll and will only miss out on winning bonuses.
How Mine have been on a steady rise and are now third on the league table tied on 29 points with second-placed Triangle United. They both trail leaders Chicken Inn by a point.
Despite being championship contenders after a slow start, Masomere is not in a hurry to fill another free slot created by the departure of striker Dalu Muraka for Cyprus.
The veteran gaffer believes the players at his disposal can carry his team through.
“We’ve a fairly balanced side and unfortunately injuries had a toll on our first half performance. Almost everyone is back and it’s all systems go in the second half. Our target is a top seven finish, but if the championship presents itself to us, we’ll gladly take it,” he said.
Besides the return to fitness of Matawu and Chirinda, How Mine’s home stretch preparations have been boosted by the recovery of former Dynamos midfield maestro Tawanda Muparati, who was kept on the sidelines by knee and ankle injuries.