By Petros Kausiyo
TALISMANIC Zimbabwe forward Knowledge Musona has broken his silence over his absence from tomorrow’s blood-and-thunder 2013 Nations Cup qualifier against Angola with the star striker revealing that a combination of injury, and a horrible foul-up by Warriors’ team manager Nyika Chifamba, ruled him out of the contest.
There has been speculation all week about Musona’s whereabouts and whether he would fly into Harare in time for tomorrow’s final 2013 Nations Cup qualifier. The 22-year-old FC Augsburg striker has, however, remained holed up at his base in Germany while Chifamba kept telling the nation that he was expecting the striker to arrive in time for the match.
Chifamba told the nation on Thursday that he had failed to get hold of Musona, suggesting that the player may well have been on his flight from Germany to Harare.
But Musona was conspicuous by his absence from the national team’s training ground yesterday and, unlike the scenario in March in Burundi, when he arrived in Bujumbura just hours before the match the former Kaizer Chiefs man will not take his place in the Warriors attack tomorrow.
Instead, he will be following the proceedings at Rufaro from a distance as he has remained stuck in Germany. And yesterday Musona, for the first time, gave his side of the story.
He told The Herald of his heartache at having to miss the crucial first leg in which the Warriors need to secure a comfortable home win in order to lay a strong foundation for their possible qualification for the Nations Cup finals in South Africa. Musona revealed that he had also suffered a tear in his adapter muscle and had been told that he would miss action for at least two weeks.
The former TSG Hoffenheim striker said even though he would have wanted to come for the match, he was not cleared by FC Augsburg for the encounter because the letter of request for his release had only been forwarded to the club on September 3. Ironically, it was the same Monday that Musona reportedly picked an injury during a club training session.
“I got injured at training on Monday and yesterday (Thursday) I was referred to the Bayern Munich specialist who said he was seeing traces of the same injury I suffered in my first days at Hoffenheim. Now I have been told that I need a minimum of two weeks to rest before I can resume training otherwise I could be taking a big risk. I have also been told that I would need to go for a review on Monday, Wednesday and on 21 September,’’ Musona said.
Musona also insisted that he had informed Chifamba of the challenges with his release from Augsburg following the late arrival of the Zifa letter of request. Despite having earlier had his brush with Zifa over match-fixing allegations Musona maintained his commitment to the Warriors’ cause and said he was pained “at being absent on the day this team will be making history’’.
“I am surprised that when I spoke to the team manager on the phone, he was questioning my commitment and he insisted that I should just come because this is the national team. But I have been trying to tell Chifamba that I cannot just decide to fly to Zimbabwe even if the ticket was there. I am only an employee at Augsburg and I would have to be cleared by the club but the fact is the letter of request only got to the club offices on Monday which is the day I was supposed to travel yet I would have to follow the club’s rules.
“Things are a bit different in terms of the management at Augsburg and they insist on getting notification at least 14 days before the match. When I was at Hoffenheim, I was not playing regularly, and they would not mind allowing me to go to the national team even if the notification might have come late.
Now I am on loan and even though I am playing more often I have to follow the club’s disciplinary code and I cannot just leave without their permission. It is sad that I am not part of the team that is about to make history but I am praying that I will be there for the next game. I have a strong feeling we can beat Angola on Sunday and I wish the boys the best of luck.”
Musona also said it would be unfortunate to try and question his commitment to the Warriors’ cause on the basis that he had failed to make it for the showdown with Angola. “I don’t think it would be fair to say that because I could not make it for reasons beyond my control then it means I don’t care for the national team. I travelled to Burundi on the day of the game and still managed to play and I would have really wanted to play again this weekend.
“If the team manager is an honest man then he knows that I am very much committed to my country and I want us to qualify for the Nations Cup, it would be great to play at the finals in South Africa,’’ Musona said. Musona is the Warriors’ leading striker and scored all the two goals that helped the national team qualify for this stage of the qualifiers on away goals after a 2-2 draw against Burundi.
The forward scored the crucial away goal, in a 1-2 defeat in Bujumbura, hours after touching down at the airport and then scored the priceless goal, in a 1-0 win at home against Burundi, to power Zimbabwe through. Musona’s absence tomorrow is a huge blow given that the Warriors have struggled to get goals from elsewhere and coach Rahman Gumbo might be forced to juggle with a lightweight forwardline tomorrow featuring any of Rodwell Chinyengetere, Nelson Mazivisa, Takesure Chinyama and Donald Ngoma.
Veteran midfielder Tinashe Nengomasha has also been ruled out after failing to get clearance from his new South African Premiership club Bidvest Wits. Nengomasha has faced the same problems as Musona as he could not leave his club without Bidvest Wits officials being certain that he was coming for national duty as there wasn’t any official request received in time. The Herald