HIGHLANDERS head coach Kelvin Kaindu says he cannot guarantee that Simba Sithole will immediately fit into his squad anytime soon as the former How Mine and Ajax Cape Town striker has been out of action for a long time and lacks match fitness.
Club chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede yesterday said they had already agreed terms with Sithole and his papers were with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and awaits his licence to start playing for the Bulawayo giants.
However, Kaindu was cautious on Sithole making the squad that will take on Buffaloes in a league match tomorrow at Hartsfield or in the $110 000 TM Pick n Pay Challenge Cup at the National Sports Stadium against Dynamos on Saturday.
After being axed by Ajax, Sithole packed his bags and is back home.
He immediately started training with Highlanders on arrival from Cape Town last week.
“It is always difficult to say a player will be part of the team, but what guarantees is how they perform at training.
He has been out of action for a long time and is lacking on match fitness. But coming from a league that is higher than ours, we just hope that he catches up,” Kaindu said.
However, the Zambian gaffer is a bit concerned about casualties in his camp, saying 13 of his players including leading scorer Charles Sibanda are limping with injuries, but he hopes most of them will have shaped up before the Buffaloes match tomorrow and the cup tie on Saturday.
With Bosso chasing the championship, which has been evasive for the past seven years, Kaindu said he would try and balance up a squad on players for tomorrow’s tie and those to feature on Saturday in Harare.
Runners-up on Saturday in the TM Pick n Pay Challenge Cup are guaranteed to pocket $50 000, the winner walking away with $60 000 and mathematically, Highlanders and Dynamos are battling to get an extra $10 000.
“We are grateful to the sponsors for the cup. There is quite a lot at stake in the cup final and we will try and balance up between the squad that plays on Wednesday and Saturday. The games come at a crucial time. We have 12 to 13 players that are injured, but I hope they would have recovered in time for the two matches,” Kaindu said.
Rahman Kutsanzira, Gabriel Nyoni and Simon Munawa are still injured while Sibanda, young Kudzanai Machazane, Dumisani Ndlovu, Honest Moyo and Joel Ngodzo are among the players on the treatment table. Pasca Manhanga will miss tomorrow’s league match as he is still serving suspension after he was red-carded in a league match against Triangle at Hartsfield on August 21.
After a week’s rest, PSL clubs are back in action tomorrow with five matches, two on Thursday and one on Friday.
Tomorrow: Chapungu v Chicken Inn (Ascot), Dynamos v Chiredzi (Rufaro), Highlanders v Buffaloes (Hartsfield), Black Rhinos v Harare City (Rimuka), Triangle United v FC Platinum (Gibbo) Thursday: Shabanie Mine v Hwange (Maglas), Bantu Rovers v Caps United (Hartsfield)
Friday: How Mine v ZPC Kariba (Hartsfield)