THREE Highlanders players will have to pass late fitness tests if they are to participate in the opening round of matches for the Chibuku Super Cup that kicks off this weekend.
Highlanders first collide with Bulawayo Chiefs on Sunday as begin their Group Two round robin matches.
Nqobizitha Masuku, Chrispen Ncube and Devine Mhindirira are all carrying knocks and will need to prove their fitness to make it into the squad.
Bosso are already without six of their new signings, who could not be registered for the tournament as they are yet to get clearance.
Midfielder Joel Ngodzo, Winston Mhango and striker Keith Mavhunga, who were all playing in Zambia, need to get clearance from that country’s football association.
The same applies to Peter Muduhwa, who was on a loan stint at Tanzanian giants Simba SC, while Rodi Sibanda, who played for South African giants Orlando Pirates reserves, also awaits an international transfer certificate (ITC).
Lynoth Chikuhwa, formerly with the now-defunct Tsholotsho and is coming from Botswana, is also affected.
In the face of all the absentees, Highlanders coach Mandla Mpofu is wearing a brave face.
“I have got six that are not available, but for now, I think I need to channel my energy on the 20 players that are eligible to take part in this tournament, which is what is important at this moment,” he said.
“Of course, it is stressful (that the six are not available), but there are things that I cannot control, but most importantly, I will just focus on those that are available and make sure that we progress. Maybe these guys can join us in July.”
Bosso chief executive Nhlanhla Dube said efforts to regularise the paperwork for all their players was affected by COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
“We were in lockdown and we, at Highlanders, tried to work under the circumstances, but some institutions were closed. No one knew when football was going to come back, so you couldn’t envision, you couldn’t estimate,” he said.
“We are working from a situation which is absolutely abnormal. The ITCs are regulated by transfer windows and these are international and cannot be regulated by your league.”