Zemura doubtful for AFCON finals

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

JORDAN Zemura has emerged as a huge doubt for Zimbabwe’s opening match of the AFCON tournament against Senegal next Monday after the defender was caught up in the Covid-19 wave at his English Championship side Bournemouth. 

Zemura failed to join the Warriors as scheduled in Cameroon last night. 

Sources told The Herald that the 22-year-old was among the players that tested positive for the virus. However, no official confirmation could be obtained from both Bournemouth and the Warriors camp as the matter is being treated as confidential.

Bournemouth were forced to postpone their SkyBet Championship match against Peterborough United that was scheduled for last night following the Covid-19 outbreak and injuries in their camp. 

It has become common in the last few weeks for games to be postponed due to the rising Covid-19 infections in England.

Bournemouth confirmed the affected players have since entered a seven-day period of isolation, in line with Government guidelines. 

However, there is still hope for the Zimbabwean player as the club have confirmed their next match against Yeovil in the third round of the FA Cup set for this Saturday.  

Zemura is one of the players to look forward to in the Zimbabwe squad at the AFCON tournament. The Warriors technical team had not received official communication from his club regarding his travel arrangements by yesterday. 

But the duo of Tino Kadewere and Scotland–based forward David Moyo was expected to join camp in Yaoundé last night.

Skipper Knowledge Musona is scheduled to check-in tonight while Luton Town’s Admiral Muskwe is expected tomorrow afternoon. 

Zimbabwe cannot afford more player drop outs ahead of the tournament after key men like Marvelous Nakamba, Marshall Munetsi and Brendan Galloway were ruled out of the football jamboree due to injuries. Khama Billiat and Tendayi Darikwa excused themselves from selection. 

The Warriors suffered a scare on Sunday after goalkeeper Petros Mhari and midfielder Kudakwashe Mahachi were forced out of the practice match against Sudan due to knocks. 

Mhari showed signs of discomfort after he had landed awkwardly and was replaced by Talbert Shumba. 

Mahachi, who started in the left-wing position, picked a knock in the first half and was replaced by Onismor Bhasera. 

Team doctor Nicholas Munyonga, however, delivered good news on the duo, who should be ready for the Warriors’ opening match against Senegal on Monday. 

“It’s nothing serious. It’s a thigh contusion that resulted from a collision with an opponent. 

“He should be okay in the next two to three days,” said Munyonga on Mahachi. 

Mhari was also advised to take a rest and is expected to recover fully within two days.

Warriors coach Norman Mapeza said injuries were expected in such matches. Mapeza said he was encouraged by the positives he saw in his charges in the goalless draw. 

“I think the guys played very well, especially in the first half. We had some very clear cut chances. Unfortunately, maybe the sharpness is not there yet. But I’m more than pleased with the performance,” Mapeza said after the game. 

“The organisation at the back, getting into midfield where I think we still need to work more, and then going forward, I think we had so many opportunities. 

“There was a lot of creativity, especially in the first half. Overall, I’m happy with the performance of the boys. If we can have the same performance and the same desire which I saw towards our first games of the tournament, I think there might be some surprises” he added. 

The Warriors are excited by the form of captain Musona who has scored three goals in his last two outings for Saudi Pro-League side, Al Tai. 

Scotland forward Moyo also scored a goal for his team Hamilton Academicals in his last match before he left to join the Warriors camp in Cameroon. 

The 2021 AFCON tournament kicks off this weekend and participating nations have remained on high alert because of the Covid-19 threat. 

With many teams delaying their arrivals in Cameroon, there is a danger of new infections because of increased traffic. So far, hosts Cameroon have reported four Covid-19 cases. Zimbabwe will get the ball rolling in Group B when they face Senegal on Monday. They also play Malawi and Guinea in the group.

You Might Also Like