Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER Highlanders’ defender McClive Phiri could make his debut for South African Premiership side Bidvest Wits in tonight’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final match against Chippa United after getting his work permit.
The fringe Warriors’ right-back signed a two-year performance based deal with Wits at the beginning of the month, joining a legion of Zimbabwean footballers in the “Great Trek” to the lucrative South African league.
Dalu Bhebhe, Phiri’s business manager and personal coach, who facilitated the player’s trial stint after sending scientific data to Wits, said the player has been issued with a visa.
“His paperwork is done; he’s been issued with a visa making him available for selection. He’s been training hard and looks pumped up to grab the opportunity. He might be in the squad that will play Chippa United on Monday night,” said Bhebhe.
Tonight’s clash between Wits and Chippa is a repeat of last year’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final that saw the latter knocking out the Clever Boys 5-3 on penalties after a thrilling 4-4 draw.
Heading into tonight’s game, Wits drew 2-2 against Highlands Park in a league match played last Wednesday.
Chippa, coached by Zimbabwean gaffer Norman Mapeza, will be hoping to bounce back from the 0-3 league routing by champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
If selected, Phiri, who joined Zimbabwean attacking midfielder Terrence Dzukamanja at Wits, will be hard-pressed to impress coach Gavin Hunt, with the hope of becoming a regular in the squad.
The right-back, who has the ability to overlap and deliver good crosses into the box, can give Wits other attacking options upfront.
Besides impressing his club coach, commanding a regular place at Wits can also earn Phiri a call-up to the Warriors’ 2021 Afcon qualifier against Algeria next month.
Phiri has earned four caps for Zimbabwe after featuring in the two World Cup qualifiers against Somalia in Djibouti and Harare as well as the two legs of the Chan final qualifier against Lesotho. — @ZililoR