No early return for Neymar

BY HENRY MHARA

DYNAMOS might have to do without midfielder Claude Junior Nkahan for a long time with no definite date of his recovery following an ankle injury.

The Cameroonian, nicknamed Neymar, dazzled on his debut for DeMbare in the 2-1 defeat to Hwange a fortnight ago, and then picked an injury at training on Thursday last week.

He subsequently missed the Harare giants’ trip to Bulawayo where they were beaten 2-0 by Chicken Inn.

Nkahan is yet to resume training, and will miss his team’s clash with Highlanders in the Independence Day Trophy at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.

Dynamos return to Premier League action on Monday with a tricky clash against Herentals, a match that the winger is also likely to miss.

“He is injured, he is not training with the team. The doctors are monitoring his progress,” said Dynamos team manager Richard Chihoro yesterday.

Nkahan arrived with his compatriot Vincent Mbega at the start of the year, and the latter started in the club’s last two league matches, but was substituted at halftime in both matches.

The two teams are expected to field their strongest squads for today’s match.

Previously, participating clubs, in particular Highlanders, have used a second string side for this competition, but these two sides’ poor start to the season means that this trophy has taken an extra significance.

The two giants will be using the competition to find a winning formula ahead of their league matches on Monday.

Dynamos host Herentals at Rufaro Stadium, while Highlanders are also at home to Triangle in Bulawayo.

But more importantly, both sides will be desperate to win and appease their restless supporters, whose patience is starting to fade.

Dynamos have three points from a possible nine, having won just once and losing twice, results that have left coach Lloyd Chigowe sweating.

Highlanders are yet to win a match this season, drawing their opening two fixtures before giving away a goal lead to lose 3-1 against Harare City last weekend.

The two giants, who are looking to reclaim glory, will argue that the season is still in its infancy, but know they cannot continue dropping points.

The organisers of today’s match handpicked the two crowd pullers hoping that the football match would help fill up the stadium as the country celebrates 39 years of independence.

Meanwhile, Ngezi Platinum Stars will be desperate to turn around their fortunes when highflying Chicken Inn visit at Baobab Stadium tomorrow, in a pick of the Easter Holiday league fixture programme.

Stars have won just once and lost in their opening fixtures. Their coach Erol Akbay has blamed the bad start to his team’s poor finishing.

He is hoping his boys will find their shooting boots in this one, against a Chicken Inn side currently top of the log after three wins from three.

“The only problem in our team is scoring. We create a lot of chances, we play very good football, but the problem is that we are not scoring. In the three games we had more than 20 chances to score goals, but we have only scored four from those chances, which means something is not (right). We play good football, the dominance and everything is there only what we have to do is score goals and that is what we are not doing yet,” bemoaned Akbay.

He admitted his visitors are tough, but can still be defeated.

“They have scored lots of goals and won their matches, but every game is different, and don’t forget Ngezi Platinum are not small guys. We are not easy to beat.”

The match will see three Chicken Inn stars Clive Augusto, Tichaona Chipunza and goalkeeper Benard Donovan facing their former paymasters for the first time.
Augusto is in top form, having scored four of Chicken Inn’s seven goals this far, but Akbay is unfazed.

“I’m not worried, they are gone and they are history. I have to focus on the players that I have. Sometimes you lose a good player, sometimes a bad player, but that’s how football works and we cannot change that. I don’t look at the opponents’ players. They are now at Chicken Inn and I wish them good luck.”

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Round 3 fixtures

Tomorrow: Yadah v TelOne (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v ZPC Kariba (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum v Chicken Inn (Baobab).

Saturday: Black Rhinos v CAPS United (Rufaro), FC Platinum v Hwange (Mandava).

Sunday: Chapungu v Harare City (Mandava)

Monday: Dynamos v Herentals (Rufaro), Manica Diamonds v Mushowani (Gibbo), Highlanders v Triangle (Barbourfields)