By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE is in danger of being forced to field a severely depleted squad for their decisive 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia at the end of the month after star striker Tino Kadewere became the latest key player to be barred by his club from making the trip to southern Africa.
Barely a couple of days after English Premier League side Aston Villa confirmed that Marvelous Nakamba would not be available for the two matches, the Warriors were dealt another major blow after French side Olympique Lyon dropped another bombshell.
Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare revealed Sunday that Lyon have confirmed that they will not be releasing the in-form forward due to the new Covid-19 requirements for players to go into isolation for six days after returning from international duty.
Kadewere was also missing from the Lyon squad Saturday when they thumped Sochaux 5-2 in the French Cup due to injury.
“Yes Kadewere’s club have written to us notifying us that the player is no longer available due to the new Covid-19 quarantine measures in France,” Mpandare said.
Midfielder Marshall Munetsi who also plays in France’s topflight for Stade de Reims is also set to be affected by the new regulations.
Zimbabwe are also likely to be without the France based utility player Marshal Munetsi and the England-based trio of Jordan Zenura, Tendayi Darikwa and Admiral Muskwe.
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic is sweating over the availability of a few other players who are struggling with injuries.
Tanzania-based Prince Dube is the latest Warriors player to suffer an injury ahead of the upcoming international games.
The 24-year-old limped off in the first half of Azam’s goalless draw with Mwadui in the Tanzanian Premier League on Saturday while South Africa-based winger suffered an injury while in action for SuperSport United in midweek.
The duo joins Orlando Pirates forward Terrence Dzvukamanja, Kaizer Chiefs’ Khama Billiat, Butholezwe Ncube of Amazulu and Luton Town’s Brendan Galloway who are nursing injuries despite being named in the Warriors’ provisional squad.
There was however some good news on Saturday after Belgium-based Warriors captain, Knowledge Musona scored a brace in KAS Eupen’s 3-3 league draw against Leuven.
In his third match since returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury Musona netted his first goal of the day from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute to level the terms to 2-2.
He was entrusted to take over the penalty duties for his side after striker Smail Prevljak missed from the spot early in the game. Musona, who was having a good game, could have scored his second goal six minutes into the second half, but his effort hit the woodwork.
The Warriors skipper however got his second goal in the 67th minute to put his side back on level terms again after his team had conceded early in the second half as Eupen held on for a draw.
The brace took Musona’s season tally to six goals and local football fans will be hoping he continues his good form ahead of the AFCON qualifiers.