Rahman Gumbo talks tough

Fungai Muderere 

NO freeloaders!

Warriors assistant coach Rahman Gumbo said no player should take chances if they have injuries at the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) set for Egypt next month.

The lucrative tournament, both financially and in terms of exposure has in the past seen some players making it into the team only to become redundant out there because of concealed injuries. 

A 34-member squad was announced last week, a development that saw Gumbo and his boss Sunday Chidzambwa breathe new life into the international football careers of about half a dozen players, closed the door on a dozen others who were part of the last Afcon finals show and kept faith in those who served them with distinction in the qualifiers. 

The enlarged squad will have a training camp in Durban, South Africa with some of the players featuring in the Cosafa Cup — where a number of those on the fringes will reportedly try to push to make the 23-man squad for the Afcon finals.

“Before we leave for our camp in South Africa on 25 May, we will have extensive fitness checkups on each and every player for a week. We are very much aware that some players can hide injuries but we will guard against that. We will not take passengers to Egypt. We will make sure that everyone in the squad is 100 percent fit after their long and taxing respective seasons at their clubs,” said Gumbo.

Gumbo spoke on the sidelines of the Highlanders versus Herentals league match at Barbourfields Stadium last Sunday, 24 hours after reliable Warriors centre back, Teenage Hadebe, picked a knee injury during a Nedbank Cup final match where Kaizer Chiefs lost 1-0 to TS Galaxy. 

While Hadebe might be in the treatment room Gumbo said they were compelled to overlook injured Abbas Amidu.

Injury-prone big forward Nyasha Mushekwi bounced back into the national team. Mushekwi, who plays his club football in China, turning out for Dalian Yifang, last played for the Warriors at the Afcon finals in Gabon two years ago where Zimbabwe failed to go beyond the group stage.

Despite having been in prolific form at club level, he has been unable to feature for the Warriors with reports suggesting that there was bad blood between him and the previous Zifa leadership.

Another theory that has been advanced was that he had been injured and needed to play only at his well-resourced club which had the capacity to manage him.

Zimbabwe will hope to make a big impression at the Afcon finals, which will have 24 teams for the first time in its history.

Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka), Talbert Shumba (Chapungu)

Defenders: Dennis Dauda (Lusaka Dynamos), Lawrence Mhlanga (FC Platinum), Jimmy Dzingai (Power Dynamos), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Tendai Darikwa (Nottingham Forest)

Midfielders: Danny Phiri (Golden Arrows), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Butholezwe Ncube (AmaZulu), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Orlando Pirates), Tafadzwa Rusike (Zanaco), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Talent Chawapihwa (AmaZulu), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah), Knowledge Musona (Lokeren), Thabani Kamusoko (Young Africans), Rodwell Chinyengetere (Baroka)

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