BY GERALD MUTSVAIRO

Zimbabwe striker Kuda Mahachi has fully recovered from a minor knock.

THE Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare is confident that the national team will attain a clean bill of health well ahead of Zimbabwe’s first Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) match against Senegal in Group B on January 10.

There were fears that Zimbabwe would lose midfielder Kuda Mahachi and goalkeeper Petros Mhari through injury. Mahachi left the pitch injured in the first half of the goalless friendly against the Falcons of Jediane last Sunday while goalkeeper Petros showed discomfort after landing awkwardly in the same game.

But after a recent assessment of the two players carried out by the Warriors medical team, there is now optimism that the duo will shake off the injuries before the end of the week.

“The injuries are not as serious as first feared. The coach is not very worried about the injuries. Mahachi is still in pain but we expect him to heal in three days. The technical team has also confirmed that Mhari will fully recover soon,” said Mpandare.

The Warriors are now expected to leave Cameroon capital Yaoundé for Bafoussam today where they will be based during the Afcon campaign.

With chief striker Tinotenda Kadewere, David Moyo and Jordan Zemura joining camp on Monday and Skipper Knowledge Musona and Admiral Muskwe expected to join the warriors today, Mpandare is hopeful that team’s preparations will now go a gear up.

 “The coach is very happy with the squad at the moment. The preparations are going very well. Everyone is working hard. We are currently waiting for our Captain Knowledge Musona who will arrive tomorrow (today) to join the squad. Kadewere and Muskwe have arrived and are now with the squad. The team is looking strong,” the Warriors manager said.

Zimbabwe which is currently ranked 121 in the Fifa rankings will be hoping to reach Afcon knock-out stages for the first time. To attain that goal, Warriors will first have to navigate the tricky Group B where they will battle it out with Senegal, Guinea and neighbouring Malawi.

Zimbabwe will use Kouekong Stadium for their first two matches against the Lions of Teranga on January 9 and the Flames of Malawi four days later before travelling to Yaoundé for the final group match against the Syli Nationale at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on January 18.

Meanwhile, Mpandare has poured cold water on claims that some members of the suspended Zifa have approached some players with an offer to pay them if they lose matches.

 “I want to assure you that these allegations are false. We can’t play to lose. We want to make history here and make everyone proud. We are not focusing on those rumours. Those are lies and we won’t even listen to something like that.

“We are busy working hard here and making sure that we win and qualify to the knock-out stages. We are here to make history and everyone is trying to create positive energy. We are focusing on our football. We cannot waste our time and concentrate on something that is not true. Those are false allegations; all we want to do is win,” he said.

Zimbabwe secured their Afcon berth after finishing second in Group H behind African defending Champions Algeria while Zambia and Botswana were third and fourth respectively. – Daily News