WARRIORS captain Knowledge Musona and midfielder Kundai Benyu are a major doubt for tomorrow’s African Cup of Nations clash against Malawi after sitting out training yesterday.
Musona has flu-like symptoms while Benyu is injured. The duo was substituted in the first game against Senegal on Monday which the Warriors lost 1-0. Musona complained of flu at half time to coach Norman Mapeza but he told the gaffer he would go for 20 or so minutes in the second half. He was later replaced by Never Tigere, three minutes from time.
Benyu, on the other hand, playing in his maiden AFCON suffered a knock on his tendon and had to be stretchered off mid-way through the second stanza with Thabani Kamusoko coming in his place.
The two have not fully recovered. Musona watched from the sidelines as the team, buoyed by the arrival of Jordan Zemura, went through their paces at the Stade Municipal Bafang arena.
Benyu remained at the team hotel.
Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare expressed confidence the two will be up and running today as the medical team was closely monitoring them.
“They (team doctors) are working flat out to make sure the two recover in time so that they can take part in tomorrow’s (today) sessions,” said Mpandare. “Remember both of them had to be substituted in the game against Senegal on Monday. But, I assure you there is nothing much serious for both. It’s only that we are being cautious as we need all the players to be available for selection in the match against Malawi. You know how important that match is and the technical team is well-equipped to deal with the match if all the players are available. We hope and pray they will be fine in time for the game.”
The team will know if the flu-like symptoms displayed by Musona are not related to Covid-19 when the results of the PCR tests come out today.
Zimbabwe is one of the few teams which retained a 100 percent bill in the first round of fixtures with all the 22 players and officials testing negative ahead of the match against Senegal on Monday. So tight and effective is the bubble no one is allowed to enter or use the same premises at the team’s hotel.
Zemura, who arrived yesterday, had to undergo a rapid test before going into the bubble and then joined the squad for the mandatory PCR tests an hour later.
“This is something we are treating with utmost importance. The bubble has to be a bubble,” said Mpandare.
“We cannot afford to drop our guard. We need all our players and officials to be safe.”
Zimbabwe are staying at the same hotel with Malawi who had 12 positive cases ahead of their opening match against Guinea on Monday.
Every effort is being made by the Zimbabwe officials to make sure there is zero contact between the two sides.