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Gerald Phiri Jnr in minor injury setback

Gabadinho Mhango

Flames attacking midfielder Gerald Phiri Junior is expected to return to training soon after suffering a hip injury during Baroka FC training last week.

Due to the injury, Phiri Junior missed Baroka FC 2-0 victory over Robert Ng’ambi’s Black Leopards in an Absa Premier Soccer League match on Saturday.

His manager, Paul Mitchel of Siyavuma Sports Group, said the Malawian would resume training this week as he was rested as a precaution.

“It is not serious and he is expected to be back very soon, hopefully this week,” he said.

The attacking midfielder’s absence in the game against Leopards over the weekend raised fears that he could miss crucial back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Burkina Faso later this month.

His compatriot Richard Mbulu was on the bench for Baroka.

Flames Assistant Coach, Lovemore Fazili, said the recovery of Phiri was a big relief.

“We need all the players to be fit and it is good news that the injury is not serious. We will continue monitoring all the players abroad ahead of the match,” Fazili said.

The Flames comprising locally-based players are expected to travel to Zambia today for a strength-testing match against the Chipolopolo.

Flames Head Coach Meck Mwase hinted last week that defender Limbikani Mzava and striker Khuda Muyaba would be recalled for the crucial assignments.

The Flames are third in Group B of Afcon qualifiers with three points from two games whereas Uganda’s Cranes are on top with four points from the same number of games.

Meanwhile, his compatriot Gabadihno Mhango has gone two consecutive games without scoring in the PSL for the first time this year.

Mhango has been in form for Orlando Pirates since joining them from Bidvest Wits having scored 14 goals in the PSL this season.

But since his return from suspension, the former Bloemfontein Celtic striker has failed to find the back of the net including in the 1-0 loss to Kaizer Chiefs in a Soweto derby and a goal-less draw against Golden Arrows on Saturday.

This could be a disadvantage for the striker as he is chasing the Golden Boot Award with 14 goals, just two goals above Peter Shalalure of Highlands Park and Bongi Ntuli of AmaZulu FC.

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