By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors skipper Knowledge Musona could be closer to his return to full fitness after shrugging off a hamstring injury which ruled him out of the remainder of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The forward has been down for the past three weeks and has not featured for his Saudi Arabian club, Al Tai, in their last three Pro-League matches.
The club yesterday posted the pictures of the Warriors skipper training with his teammates.
Musona was injured during a practice session last month.
He has made seven appearances for the club and scored two goals.
The forward is expected to be available for Al Tai’s next game after the international break, on November 20.
He will be conspicuous by his absence when Zimbabwe face South Africa at the FNB Stadium tonight.
Also missing due to injuries are Marshall Munetsi, Jordan Zemura, Teenage Hadebe and goalkeeper Martin Mapisa.
Striker Tino Kadewere was omitted, as he had just recovered from a thigh injury, which he picked when Zimbabwe hosted South Africa, in the opening match of the qualifiers.
Former Zimbabwe internationals Edelbert Dinha and Kaitano Tembo yesterday told TimesLive the Warriors still have a lot to play for despite having crashed out of the qualifiers.
Using the last two qualifying games to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Cameroon next January and February.
“AFCON is around the corner in January and we need to go to Cameroon with a positive mind and attitude,’’ said Dinha.
“We are using these remaining two World Cup qualifiers against Bafana Bafana and Ethiopia as preparation for AFCON.
‘’We understand that SA wants to qualify for the World Cup but we have also qualified for AFCON and we need to prepare for that tournament.
“We are going to Cameroon with the mission of doing well and trying to get out of the group stages.
“We are not coming here to SA on holiday, we are here for the coach to make sure that he keeps the spirit going among the players and work on formations as we look ahead to the 2022 AFCON.
“The coach’s job is not secured because he is on an interim basis and he wants people to understand that he is focused and he has what it takes to take the team to AFCON next year.
“It’s the Limpopo Derby and there is a lot at stake for both countries.”
Tembo, the SuperSport United coach, said Mapeza should look for a victory.
“The coach was given about four games on a caretaker basis.
“They wanted to see how he does in the qualifiers and good results in these two matches against Bafana Bafana and Ethiopia may well see him get the job to take the team to AFCON,’’ said Tembo.
“That is why these two games are important for him, to show that he is the right man for the job.
“He has also brought in some youngsters from the local league, who must show what they can do, and he is trying to build for the future.
“It is not about the World Cup any more, everyone is playing for their places in the AFCON squad.
“You must also remember that there are not going to be many friendly games to prepare before AFCON and these two games are being used as preparation.
“There are players who are based in Zambia and in Zimbabwe in this team who will be looking to impress and, maybe, get contracts in the PSL. It is also about bragging rights.’’ The Herald