25 September 2012

Zimbabwe/Angola: Rahman's Roddy Pain

WARRIORS coach Rahman Gumbo last night revealed that he has been saddened by the horrific injury suffered by Hwange and national team striker Rodwell Chinyengetere at the weekend and described it as a blow to both the country and the player. Gumbo is today expected to release to Zifa his provisional squad for the final African Cup of Nations qualifying showdown against Angola in Luanda on the weekend of October 12-14.

Chinyengetere, the coalminers' chief striker, was one of the forwards in Gumbo's plans having forced his way into the reckoning in a Warriors side that is normally dominated by foreign-based professionals.

But the striker has been ruled out of the decisive game in Luanda after suffering a double fracture on his shin on Saturday when he came worse off a clash of legs with Monomotapa goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi in a Premiership match at Rufaro.

Hwange went on to lose the encounter 3-0.

Gumbo, who has had to contend with a thin Warriors squad since march when Zifa decided to suspend over 90 players for being fingered in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal, had literally been on a rebuilding exercise with Chinyengetere emerging as one of the stars of that new class.

The coach last night said he had been saddened to hear of Chinyengetere's injury which he also descried as "a very unfortunate incident".

"It is very sad and it is very unfortunate the injury happened at the wrong time.

"Rodwell was now at the peak of his season and he was playing well for both the national team and his club and was really enjoying good form.

"But when such things happen there is very little you can do as a coach except to wish him a speedy recovery and look around for alternative options.

"We will be releasing our call-up list to Zifa tomorrow (today) because we want the letters of release to the clubs to be sent well on time," Gumbo said.

It has also emerged that Gumbo might just get the luxury of a widened selection base should Zifa, as widely anticipated, receive the long-overdue final Asiagate report from the Independent Ethics committee before the end of this week.

Although Gumbo is set to name his squad today, Zifa are understood to have told the coach that he might get more names to choose from those that are set to be cleared from the Asiagate scam.

Since the suspensions were effected, Gumbo has had a chance to include only four players - Khama Billiat, Ovidy Karuru, Willard Katsande and Oscar Machapa - from the first list of 33 players who were the first batch to be cleared by the Justice Ahmed Ebrahim committee.

Ebrahim and his committee, who have interviewed virtually all the individuals they believed were key to concluding their findings, are now expected to hand in their report any time.

The retired Supreme Court judge had in fact indicated on August 6 that he would wind up his probe inside 30 days from that date.

There is a growing consensus within the football family that Ebrahim now needs to spell out which players are available for selection in time for Gumbo to strengthen his side in a game in which the Warriors cannot afford to blow the 3-1 cushion they enjoy from the first leg.

Zifa are also not taking any chances off the field with the association this afternoon expected to unveil a special committee dubbed "Mzansi 90" which will spearhead the mobilisation of resources for that crucial trip to Luanda.

Jonathan Mashingaidze, Zifa chief executive, insisted that the association cannot afford to fail the Warriors in their defining moment and believes the senior team could achieve qualification for South Africa 2013 should the entire nation rally behind them.

With the government still to fully commit itself to helping the Warriors in the biggest battle of their qualifying campaign, Mashingaidze's last hopes are now pinned on the Mzansi 90 committee mobilising enough resources to ensure the Warriors have the best of preparations for the showdown in Luanda.

But for Gumbo, any additions of more seasoned players being cleared by Ebrahim would be a welcome development given the background that his selection options have suffered another dent with the latest injury to Chinyengetere.

The Warriors coach is also expected to include talismanic forward Knowledge Musona in his squad with the hope that the FC Augsburg striker will also be fit again to lead the senior team's line of attack in Luanda.

Musona missed the first leg against Angola amid indications that he was injured and that the letter of request for his release from his German Bundesliga club had been sent late.

Veteran Bidvest Wits midfielder Tinashe Nengomasha is also expected to bounce back in the squad as Gumbo seeks to plug the loopholes that were exposed in the second half of their 3-1 first leg triumph against the Palancas Negras.

Nengomasha, just like Musona also claimed that the letter requesting his release from his new club had been sent to late for Wits to allow him to leave the Johannesburg club and join the Warriors and he missed the first leg at Rufaro.

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