Kaizer Chiefs centre back Teenage Hadebe is disappointed at having to miss out on the COSAFA Cup when Zimbabwe take a crack at a new record sixth title at the regional championships scheduled for Limpopo province from May 27-June 9.
Hadebe had been included in coach Sunday Chidzambwa’s initial 33-man squad ahead of the start of the Warriors’ title defence on June 3.
Zimbabwe will begin their 2018 COSAFA Cup campaign with a quarter-final date against the winners of Group B that includes Angola, Botswana, Mauritius and Malawi at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Hadebe, a key figure in the heart of the Kaizer Chiefs team for much of the 2017/2018 ABSA Premiership season, will however, not be part of the Warriors ensemble in Polokwane with an ankle injury picked up while on club duties with Amakhosi sidelining him.
The 22-year-old defender also missed last year’s COSAFA Cup in South Africa’s North West province as he was completing his move from Chicken Inn to Kaizer Chiefs.
This time injury has kept him out of the competition, which the former Highlanders man had been eager to feature in.
“It’s an honour to represent my country I am glad for the call-up unfortunately I had an ankle problem so the club (Kaizer Chiefs) decided to rest me.
“I didn’t even play for the last five games of the season and I am so disappointed at having to miss out on the COSAFA Cup.
“I just want to wish the guys all the best of luck,’’ Hadebe said.
Hadebe said he is confident the Warriors will successfully defend their COSAFA Cup title adding he had hoped to be part of that squad that is aiming for history.
“This COSAFA Cup is also important in that it is helping us prepare for the AFCON qualifiers and I think we have a very strong squad.
“But it’s tough I am out … really sad because I wanted to be part of the group and defend our title and I know we can,’’ Hadebe said.
The Kaizer Chiefs defender has been joined on the Warriors injury list by Bloemfontein Celtic’s Ronald Pfumbidzai (shoulder) and midfielder Marvelous Nakamba of Club Brugge in Belgium, who has a knee ligament injury.
Hadebe is now hoping to have fully recovered by the time Chiefs begin their preparations for a new season, possibly under a new coach following the departure of Steve Khompela.
“I am happy we finished third with Chiefs and we will get a chance to play in Africa which will be a good experience and I am sure we could be having a new coach by then,’’ Hadebe said.
Former Malawi international defender Patrick Mabedi is the Kaizer Chiefs interim coach.