Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
WARRIORS’ captain Knowledge Musona is set to undergo specialist surgery in Germany, to try and fix an ankle injury that has haunted him for some time now, and could have limited his ability to play at full throttle during the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt.
Musona is one of three Warriors who are likely to be sidelined by injuries ahead of the team’s return to the World Cup qualifiers when they take on continental lightweights Somalia in three weeks’ time with the first leg set for September 2 and the return leg a week later.
Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the pre-season and could be out of action for six to nine months, which means he could miss the rest of the England Championship season.
“Sad to be out of action for a while. Will be supporting the boys week in week out. Thank you for the messages. COYR (Come On You Reds),’’ Darikwa tweeted.
Utility player, Marshall Munetsi, also faces sometime on the sidelines after he was injured during pre-season training at his new French Ligue 1 side Stade Reims and is set to miss their opening match against Olympique Marseille today.
Reims were impressive in pre-season, in which they were unbeaten, after holding Lille 1-1, Gent 1-1, beating Metz 2-0 , Dijon 3-1 and new English Premiership side Sheffield United 3-1 this week.
Munetsi made the giant leap from South African giants, Orlando Pirates, to the French Ligue 1, after some impressive performances for both club and country.
But, it’s unlikely he will now be part of the Warriors for the 2022 World Cup preliminary round matches against Somalia, who are the continent’s worst-ranked national football team.
Musona, the team’s talismanic forward, is also set to miss those matches with revelations that he is now set to undergo specialist surgery in Munich, Germany, to deal with an ankle injury that has been giving him problems for some time now.
The 29-year-old Warriors skipper had very quiet AFCON finals in Egypt in which he struggled to produce the kind of form which has seen him become the team’s talisman in the past few years.
There had been concerns about his fitness, going into the Nations Cup finals, after a domestic campaign in Belgium in which his season was blighted by injuries.
In the week leading to the 2019 AFCON Group A opener against Egypt, Musona was asked by this newspaper whether he was 100 percent fit to lead his nation.
“I can say, from the last time that I played an official match, the training I have had and some matches I have played, I think, I am okay for the tournament,’’ he said.
“It has been a while and I have not heard a very good season at club level, but I know what I am capable of and I know even though I am not as 100 percent as I would like to be, the team that we have we always fight for each other.’’
However, Musona did not show the kind of explosion usually associated with him, when it comes to the Warriors, during that match against the Pharaohs.
Then, in the second game against the Cranes of Uganda, Musona was heavily involved in the goal which Khama Billiat scored, chesting the ball into the path of Ovidy Karuru down the channel to provide an assist to the Kaizer Chiefs forward.
However, the Smiling Assassin then produced the miss of the tournament when, alone with a yawning goal, he directed his effort against the crossbar in the second-half after some good work by Karuru.
Ahead of the final group game against the Democratic Republic of Congo, his Warriors teammates were captured in a video singing a song, in their hotel, encouraging their captain to keep believing despite his loss of form.
‘‘In football, just like in any other sport, if you are not fully fit physically, it can affect your mental sharpness too and there is a good possibility that was the case with Knowledge at the last AFCON finals because we all know what a fully fit Knowledge can do, especially when it comes to the Warriors,’’ sources said.
‘‘It’s sad that these injuries have been nagging him for a while because this guy has done a lot for his country and he still has a lot to offer to the team.
‘‘It’s good to hear that he has decided to seek specialist medical treatment because that is the best way to deal with the situation. Remember Nyasha (Mushekwi) also had issues with his troublesome groin for some time and was playing games with a lot of pain.
‘‘His former team remained very supportive and they sent him to Madrid, in Spain, where some medical specialists sorted that problem and since then he has been doing very well and hasn’t been suffering when he is playing football.’’
Musona grabbed headlines on the local scene in May when he appeared on a television channel, run by a popular Nigerian preacher TB Joshua, in which he claimed he had received “instant healing” for an injury doctors in Begium had said might require surgery.
TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of all Nations posted two pictures of the Zimbabwe captain on Twitter saying:
“Mr Knowledge Musona, captain of the Zimbabwe national football team, had suffered from an ankle injury for five years. As the Belgium-based footballer refused the surgery the doctor suggested, he ran to The SCOAN for divine restoration and was healed instantly.”
Musona told this newspaper in June that he was at peace with himself, after a healing crusade to Nigerian prophet TB Joshua, whom he credited for the healing process that eventually saw God healing his troubled ankle, which had forced him to train and play in pain, both for club and country, for the past five years.
‘‘I think, you know that for the last five years I have been playing with an injured ankle, but I always tried to do my best for my country and the clubs that I have played for because I am a fighter,’’ he said.
‘‘I have been healed now and I feel fresh and ready and that’s why I can declare that this won’t be my last AFCON finals, no matter what happens to us here.
‘‘I think I still have time on my side, I still have 10 more years to play and that’s five African Cup finals because it’s every two years and, so, I don’t think it’s the last, especially with this team that we have.’’
The Warriors captain, though, is now set to go to Munich, Germany, for specialist treatment for that ankle injury.