Bruce Chikuni 

MANICA Diamonds have been given a huge lift by the return of forward, Fortune Binzi, ahead of their Chibuku Super Cup first round fixture against Black Rhinos at Gibbo tomorrow.

Binzi was ruled out for six weeks after he sustained a fractured left-hand radius bone.

The Gem Boys coach, Jairos Tapera, said Binzi will be in contention to feature this weekend.

Tapera, one of the coaches of the season so far in this campaign, could not have asked for a better time to get his fine hitman back.

Gerald Bero had helped fill the void in Binzi’s absence as he scored three times.

Before this lengthy spell in the cold, Binzi was leading the domestic Premiership’s scoring charts with eight goals.

And, despite not being in action for six weeks, only Bulawayo Chiefs’ Obriel Chirinda has surpassed his tally.

The odds favour the Gem Boys to progress to the next stage after they boosted their attack by signing forward Tawanda Macheke, who is returning from a spell in South Africa.

“It was a difficult challenge for Binzi, who was enjoying a good run, and he now has a big task ahead of him to regain the rhythm,” said Tapera. 

“Black Rhinos are a good side and success is not guaranteed in a cup game, we have to be at our best to make it to the next round of the tournament.

“I think his return has given us a huge boost and more options upfront, it’s every coach’s wish to have every player available for selection.”

Two-time league champions, Rhinos, are bottom of the PSL table but they put on a good show to eliminate Sheasham in the preliminary round on Wednesday at Baobab. 

They are going into this assignment as underdogs but their coach, Saul Chaminuka, said their spirited fight against the Construction Boys instilled hope in his camp.

“We have started well in this tournament and we have a chance to cause an upset if we can replicate the fighting spirit we exhibited against Sheasham.

“The boys are believing that we have a chance and it’s all that we can pray for in this campaign. 

“If we can do well in this tournament, it will also give us the confidence to get ourselves out of the relegation,” said Chaminuka.

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