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Knowledge Musona in rare task

by Staff reporter
19 Jan 2017 at 05:57hrs | Views

WARRIORS' talisman Knowledge Musona finds himself with a rare task of playing the 12th man after being ruled out of the Africa Cup of Nations Group B showdown against Senegal but the KV Oostende man is confident his teammates will upstage the West African giants tonight.

Musona has been ruled out of the crunch match against the Lions of Teranga as he gradually recovers from a right hamstring injury that prematurely ended his participation in the Warriors' opening match against Algeria which ended in 2-2 stalemate.

The former Kaizer Chiefs striker lasted just 12 minutes of that encounter and was later told he had suffered a mild tear to his hamstring, with team doctor Nicholas Munyonga recommending rest as the player battles to regain his fitness.

Musona yesterday told The Herald of his disappointment at having to watch from the sidelines as the Warriors go into battle but backed his teammates to deliver in tonight's match.

The Warriors have been walking with a spring in their step, their confidence levels boosted by their brave show against the Desert Foxes.

And, as they prepare to face Senegal tonight, Musona could not hide his disappointment at having to miss the action but remained upbeat about his team's chances.

"Firstly, it's sad that I did not manage to play in the first game . . . As much as I wanted to play it was beyond me . . . The guy who replaced me, Mathew did very well in the game and Cuthbert did a good job.

"I think the result was not bad although we could have collected three points.

"Overall, it was a good game and we showed character.

"We will take the one point going into the next game. It's sad that at the moment I cannot do anything to represent my country.

"What I can do for now is to support my colleagues who are playing,'' said Musona.

There was a huge sigh of relief for Musona after he was told his injury was not as bad as feared, with coach Callisto Pasuwa last night also remaining optimistic his chief striker could yet beat time and return to face the Tunisian Carthage Eagles in the final Group B game on January 23.

"Knowledge is doing well, he is not as serious as we initially thought and we hope that in the third game he will play,'' Pasuwa said.

The Warriors coach, who took his charges for their final workout at the Stade de Moanda, where they have set up base, might be without Musona but he still has a number of attacking options with Orlando Pirates man Tendai Ndoro, Sweden-based Tinotenda Kadewere, Cuthbert Malajila, Evans Rusike and Mathew Rusike all available to partner Nyasha Mushekwi up front.

Pasuwa will tonight also welcome enterprising midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, who returns from a one-match suspension and should partner skipper Willard Katsande in the engine room.

Interestingly, Nakamba will be celebrating his 23rd birthday today and the Vitesse midfielder, who has turned himself into one of the key players, is expected to play yet another crucial role for his side on his return to action.

Nakamba has also struck a good understanding with Katsande in central midfield and the pair will be expected to form the first line of defence as the Warriors seek to repel everything that Senegal will throw at them.

Katsande has been exuding confidence before and during this tournament and yesterday the Warriors captain reiterated that they were not intimidated by Senegal's high profile status.

The 31-year-old Kaizer Chiefs hardman said the Warriors needed to use "the same positive approach we had against Algeria''.

"These teams are beatable . . . we just need to pick the positives going forward.

"We watched Senegal playing and it may seem impossible to beat them until we enter the battlefield,'' Katsande said.

He also warned his troops to be wary of the danger that Sadio Mane and his teammates pose from set pieces.

"We need to approach it with the same attitude and be ready to work even harder than in the previous game and we are bound to get a result with team spirit . . . we thrive on teamwork.

"They are more under pressure than us because everyone is looking at them to win, they are the favourites,'' Katsande said.

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Source - the herald