Zimbabwe: Warriors Leave With Clean Bill

13 January 2021

Sports Reporter

THE Warriors are expected to leave for Cameroon via Ethiopia this afternoon for the CHAN finals which begin on Saturday.

The biannual football tournament, participated by only players plying their trade in their respective domestic leagues, runs until February 7.

The tournament was originally scheduled for April last year, but CAF was forced to shelve it due to Covid-19.

And the Warriors, who have had their preparations disturbed by the Covid-19 pandemic after nine players and five officials, including coach Zdravko Logarusic, tested positive, will be hoping to punch above their weight in Cameroon.

The squad was tested for coronavirus yesterday and results were scheduled to come out late in the day.

Only one player of the 14-members, who had tested positive two weeks ago, returned a positive response result last Friday.

He remained in isolation and was expected to undergo a final round of test together with the rest of the squad yesterday.

Players who would have tested positive were scheduled to be replaced by those on standby.

While the team was waiting for the Government clearance to resume training, the injured players had shaken off the sprains and yesterday national teams general manager Wellington Mpandare said the team now has a clean bill of health.

Prior to the Christmas break, King Nadolo, Leeroy Mavhunga, Denver Mukamba and Peter Muduwa were in the casualty section and there were doubts whether they would recover in time for the football jamboree in Cameroon.

"We have a clean bill of health. The players who complained of knocks have since recovered. The likes of (Leeroy) Mavhunga, (Muduwa) Peter, Mukamba (Denver) and Nadolo (King) picked up knocks last year and the doctors were closely monitoring the situation," said Mpandare.

"We are happy to announce that they have all since recovered from the injuries and we hope that coach Loga will have a full complement of the squad with everyone fit by the time we start the campaign.

"Players have been tested for Covid-19 today (yesterday) and results are expected later in the day. We will be leaving for Cameroon via Ethiopia on Wednesday (today) afternoon.

"We have trained as a team since Saturday last week and we will be concluding our local training sessions before we leave."

Zimbabwe have had their preparations affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and Loga is taking a team with players who haven't had participated in an organised competition for over a year.

He has since expressed confidence his charges will rise to the occasion and defy the odds which are heavily stacked against them.

Zimbabwe are one of the only three countries who will be making their fifth appearance at the tournament which is in its sixth edition.

Two-time and record winners DR Congo and Uganda are the other countries who are making their fifth appearance at the fiesta.

And Loga believes that gives his men an extra boost which could dwarf their lack of proper preparations.

Zimbabwe face the hosts Cameroon in the tournament opener on Saturday before taking on other tournament hopefuls Burkina Faso and Mali in the same group.

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