Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
TAKE a bow to Knowledge Musona – what an inspirational captain, what a great Warrior, what an amazing patriot.
The Warriors skipper put the interests of his country ahead of his health concerns to fight for the badge in the opening 2021 AFCON Group B match against Senegal on Monday.
Zimbabwe lost that match 0-1 after conceding a last-minute penalty, which was converted by Sadio Mane.
Had they held on for a draw, and a point, which their industry deserved, the Warriors would have made history.
They would have become the first group of Warriors to come out of a match, at the Nations Cup finals, with a clean sheet.
Now, it has been revealed that Musona actually played the game despite having gone down with a flu before the encounter.
The inspiration skipper chose to place the interests of his country first because he felt, given the absence of many of his experienced colleagues, the Warriors would struggle without someone like him.
He almost created a goal, in the dying moments of the game, when his free-kick caused commotion inside the Senegal box, but the ball could not be poked over the line.
Team manager, Wellington Mpandare, yesterday revealed Musona chose to play in the game despite his health issues.
“Knowledge Musona has a flu, he is not injured,” said Mpandare.
“He was actually supposed to be substituted earlier than that.
“Even at half-time, he had indicated that he was not feeling well but he opted to continue playing.
“The coaches then decided to withdraw him when he indicated that he wanted to be substituted.”
The team manager said Mapeza had even wanted to substitute his captain earlier in the game.
There had been concerns Musona was injured in the defeat to Senegal on Monday, forcing the technical team to pull him out.
He was replaced by Never Tigere, in the final minutes of the battle against the Lions of Teranga.
Mpandare also gave an update on midfielder Kundai Benyu, who is doubtful for the Malawi clash on Friday.
Benyu limped off in the second half and was replaced by Thabani Kamusoko.
The midfielder, who plays for Iceland side Vestri, impressed fans who watched the match against Senegal, on Monday.
“Kundai Benyu is limping and in pain at the moment. He will be assessed tonight (last night) and that will determine if he is fit to face Malawi.
“For now we don’t know if he will be fit for Malawi. But, the rest of the guys are raring to go.”
Zimbabwe face Malawi in a must-win encounter.
Mapeza, speaking after the Senegal defeat, said they need to register a win against the Flames to keep their hopes of progressing to the knockout stage alive.
Their opponents, the Flames of Malawi, are also coming from an identical defeat at the hands of Guinea.