WARRIORS doctor Somani Mudariki expects Khama Billiat to be fully fit for Zimbabwe’s opening 2019 AFCON Group A showdown against hosts Egypt at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday night, despite the influential forward missing three days of training because of a knee injury.
The diminutive forward’s absence from the team’s training programme from Friday, including missing a physical practice match against Tanzania here on Sunday that ended in a 1-1 draw, had triggered fears he could miss the opening battle against the Pharaohs.
But team doctor Mudariki allayed those fears yesterday when he told The Herald Billiat’s absence was just precautionary after he complained of pain in his knee following some brutal treatment he received from the opposition during the COSAFA Cup matches in Durban.
Mudariki said he expects Billiat to be back to full training from today, even though there are concerns surrounding midfielder Tafadzwa Kutinyu, whose leg was in a strap yesterday after suffering a knee injury.
Goalkeeper Elvin Chipezeze, who has been in contention for a place in the starting XI on Friday given that regular number one George Chigova is suspended for that game, suffered a concussion in the practice match against Tanzania on Sunday and will have to be monitored by the medical team.
There are standard procedures related to cases of concussion which the medical staff must follow before clearing a player to feature in a competitive game, although Mudariki said it was encouraging that Chipezeze did not lose consciousness during the clash with a Tanzanian opponent.
The incident led to the goal scored by the Taifa Stars.
“We will have to keep monitoring Chipezeze because there are procedures that we have to follow, but the important thing is that he never lost consciousness after the clash,’’ said Mudariki.State media