By Godknows Matarutse
Sunday Chidzambwa reckons while injury to Warriors’ Belgium-based midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is a huge blow ahead of their crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier tie against Congo at home later this month, they are, however, not pressing the panic button.
Nakamba, who has been one of the key figures for the Warriors in this campaign, suffered acute pain in the left hip region during training at his Belgian side Club Brugge last week, and will be on the sidelines for, at least, five weeks ruling him out for the Warriors’ match.
However, Chidzambwa yesterday said while his technical department had preferred to have all their best players available for the crunch tie against the Congolese Red Devils, they are not pressing the panic button, though, as they expect other players to swiftly fit in his place.
Chidzambwa, who has since announced his provisional 28-men squad for the do-or-die tie set for March 24 at the National Sports Stadium, revealed that in coming up with their team they had such things in mind and have all areas covered.
“It’s a big blow to us there is no doubt about that. Nakamba is one of our key players and we have wanted to have him available for the match. But these things happen in football that’s why we picked players who can cover all areas,” Chidzambwa said.
“So we are not panicking at all. We have enough cover. We expect those available to step up and be counted. Our prayer though at this point is to see our players stay injury-free.”
In the absence of Nakamba, Chidzambwa still have the likes of ever-improving Marshall Munetsi of Orlando Pirates and Danny Phiri in his ranks, who can all fit well in that position.
Nakamba, who will make the trip to Harare for morale support told the Daily News that he expect his teammates to finish the job and book a place at the finals.
“I’m sure my teammates will finish the job. We are only 90 minutes away from qualifying and I have confidence in the team that will be picked to do job,” Nakamba said.
The Warriors are expected to troop into camp next week Monday to begin preparations for the important match.
Zimbabwe have big prospects after the coach also included highly-rated Kelvin Lunga, who plays for German fourth-tier side SV Rödinghausen, and is expected to secure his passport upon his arrival for the match as his papers are in order.
Chidzambwa’s charges need at least a draw in their last match to seal a place at the Afcon finals as a defeat against Congo at home will see the Warriors booted out on head to head basis should the other match between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Liberia produces a winner.
All the four teams in Group G — Zimbabwe, Liberia, DRC and Congo — still have a chance of qualifying for the tournament to be held in Egypt from June 15 to July 13, 2019.
Zimbabwe top Group G with eight points ahead of Liberia, who have seven points, while DRC and Congo-Brazzaville are sitting at six and five points. DailyNews