Deco’s 21-day rest

Fungai Muderere
INJURED Warriors and Chicken Inn midfield maestro Danny “Deco” Phiri has been advised to take a three weeks break following his failure to recover in time for the forthcoming Africa Nations Championship (Chan) to be held in Rwanda.

Phiri’s prospects of leading the Warriors to the Chan finals were always in doubt after he suffered an ankle injury in the EasyCall Cup final against Highlanders and coach Pasuwa appeared to have already started planning for life without the Castle Lager Soccer Star of the year.

“I would have loved to captain the national team in Rwanda. However, I will not be able to do that because I’m injured. I’m back home in Bulawayo and the doctors have recommended that I rest for three weeks. I have no hard feelings because everything happens for a reason,” said the gritty Phiri.

Following the dropping of Phiri from the squad, Caps United veteran defender Hardlife Zvirekwi was handed the captain’s armband with Highlanders forward Knox “Mjomani” Mutizwa being named his deputy. Phiri was ruled out together with Hwange goalminder Takabva Mawaya who had a problem with his shoulder. The other casualties included new FC Platinum winger Hillary Bakacheza, Chicken Inn midfielder Tafadzwa Kutinyu and defender Teenage Hadebe who recently signed for African Safari-bound Chicken Inn

Bakacheza had been training through the pain, hoping that he would eventually recover before the Warriors’ first match on January 19 against their bogey Zambian neighbours, but the soccer star finalist lost his battle when he aggravated the injury in one of the training sessions last week.

Creative Kutinyu was withdrawn from camp after suffering a groin injury and was not part of the team that resumed camp on Saturday morning after a short New Year’s Eve day off.

Hadebe, a national Under-23 player as well as a rock solid defender for the local ensemble of the Warriors, courtesy of his good showing at the heart of the Highlanders’ defence, was chiefly expected to start for the Warriors in Rwanda.