Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS’ technical manager Madinda Ndlovu has refuted claims that stylish midfielder Denzel Khumalo is not seeing any game time because of disciplinary issues but said he has been on the sidelines because of lack of fitness.
Khumalo played in the season’s opener against Black Rhinos at the National Sports Stadium in Harare where he lasted for 53 minutes before being taken out for Zambian import Peter Nyirenda. He has not seen any action ever since, with sources at the club saying he was being punished for his wayward antics.
Addressing members of the media during the club’s weekly press conference on Thursday, Ndlovu said the player was lagging behind on fitness levels, but was showing a very positive attitude as he is working hard to rediscover his fitness.
“He played in our first match against Black Rhinos, look for the team sheet. He did not finish the match simply because he is not fit. He will be fine. We will work on it. He is a brilliant player. If he finishes the programme he will be back. He is working on his fitness levels” said Ndlovu.
Last season the player was relegated to the club’s developmental side Bosso90 to work on a “few aspects of his game”, but was recalled to the first team mid-season where he went on to have probably the best six months of his entire career.
Meanwhile, rising star defender Mbongeni Ndlovu has resumed full training and could be thrust into action tomorrow when Tshilamoya collides with red hot Premiership returnees Hwange at Barbourfields stadium.
The left back suffered a head injury during the Independence Cup final against arch rivals Dynamos which Bosso went on to win 2-0.
Team doctors had raised fears that the player might have suffered a concussion, though earlier tests had detected no signs of a head injury.
The doctors had however, taken precautionary measures suggesting that Ndlovu be rested for two weeks while they assessed his condition.
Now that he is fully fit, Ndlovu will be fighting for a place in defence where Highlanders used stocky Mbekezeli Sibanda in their shock away draw to Mushowani last Saturday.
Bosso, who also welcome back overlapping right back McClive Phiri from a two match suspension, are hard pressed to conjure a win against the coalminers who are enjoying a purple patch in the league where they have only lost once to defending champions and table toppers FC Platinum. Also coming back from injury is Zambian Nyirenda, giving the coaches plenty of choices upfront.
Amahlolanyama are winless in the opening five games, managing three draws while losing two to Triangle United and Harare City.
Before the Triangle United match, Bosso had vowed to turn Barbourfields Stadium into a fotress but all that vanished into thin air when Taurayi Mangwiro left Emagumeni with all three points.
Hwange have only beaten Bosso twice at Emagumeni in the last 10 years, winning 2-1 in 2009 and 1-0 in 2011.