Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare has described Evans Rusike’s withdrawal from the national team squad a tremendous blow to coach Sunday Chidzambwa’s plans.

Zimbabwe face DRC in the Afcon qualifiers on the 13th of October in Kinshasa before the reverse fixture in Harare three days later.

Rusike will miss the two clashes after picking an ankle knock over the weekend which has ruled him out of action for three weeks. Bidvest Wits striker Terrence Dzvukamanja has since been roped in as a replacement.

In an interview with The Herald, Mpandare said: “His injury is a big blow considering his current form. He started the game in Congo, and he was very highly likely to start again in Kinshasa.

“If you look at the out and out striking options that we have, we now only have Knox (Mutizwa) although Knowledge (Musona) can play in that role, he normally enjoys his game coming from the wide areas.”

The manager is also hoping that injuries will not affect some of the players in the squad who are based in South Africa as the play in the midweek fixtures.

“Clubs in South Africa are resuming league games today and at the weekend and we are praying that we do not suffer any further setbacks with injuries before we travel to DRC.

“When you have such problems with injuries, it also puts into perspective the need to have depth.”

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