Chigova back from injury to play at COSAFA Cup

Zimbabwe goalkeeper George Chigova has recovered in time from an ankle injury to take his place in the Warriors squad and feels he is ready to play a big part in his side’s quest for a sixth COSAFA Cup title.

The regional championships, which will staged in South Africa’s Limpopo province from May 27-June 9, is now in its 21st year and Chigova is relishing another successful stint between the posts for the Warriors.

Chigova said the venue of this year’s tournament had provided him with another incentive as he would be virtually at home.

The giant Warriors goalkeeper plays his club football with ABSA Premiership side Polokwane City.

Chigova was one of the stand-out players in last year’s tournament as the Warriors set a new record when winning the cup for an unprecedented fifth time and although he has regularly seen duty for Zimbabwe, the former Dynamos goalkeeper says being considered for the national team remains an honour for him.

“My injury is okay now, I have started training and it’s an honour to be called for the national team.

“I know it is going to be tough to defend our title but I believe with the team assembled we can do it.

“For me playing in Polokwane is extra motivation because it feels like I will be playing at home,’’ Chigova said.

The 27-year-old goalkeeper said although they got a first round bye, they would have to be at their best when they meet the winners of Group in the quarter-finals as the team’s starting from the group stage could have peaked form by the time of the knock-out level.

“Last year we started at the group stage and played three games before the knock-out stages but this time we start at the quarter-finals and on hand it is an advantage that you don’t need to play many games because if you are in the groups stage you play a game after a day so recovery-wise it is not proper.

“But the disadvantage is of the qaurter0finals is that you do not win that one game the sense of being knocked out can affect your confidence,’’ said Chigova.

Chigova was part of the Warriors side that took part in a Four-nation Invitational tournament in Zambia, which also included South Africa, Angola and the hosts and he believes such tourneys and the COSAFA Cup will provide the players with a chance to gel into a unit.

“We have a number of new players coming up in our squad and for us to understand each other better we need to play a few more games together and this COSAFA Cup is going to help us in that regard,’’ Chigova said.