Nyasa Big Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa has given an update on when he expects his captain, John Lanjesi, to make his long-awaited full return to the pitch.
Lanjesi is recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage he suffered in 2019 during Bullets’ 3-0 TNM Super League win over Mlatho Mponela at Kamuzu Stadium.
The Bullets captain is currently with the main team in Mangochi for pre-season training where they arrived on Monday.
Revealing that Lanjesi has made a tremendous improvement in his rehabilitation, the Zimbabwean coach however indicated that the 29-year-old has more steps to go before he makes a full return to the pitch.
He indicated that Lanjesi’s presence in Mangochi for pre-season preparations does not mean the captain is fully recovered and is back to full training, but as captain, the coach took him on board for bonding and to give guidance to the youngsters who need his support.
“He is the captain of the team and he is one player who has been guiding the team and has got great leadership qualities. When we went to Zimbabwe for CAF Champions League [last year], we took him along and now that we are on a pre-season tour, we have also travelled with him for team bonding.
“Lanjesi is still on the injury list and we haven’t been cleared by the team doctor to take him into full training, that’s why he is always training alone to keep up with the recovery plan,” Pasuwa told Bullets media on Thursday.
On when to expect him back to full action, the coach said:
“He suffered a major injury last year and it will be too suicidal to rush him into full training or games. He still has a long way to go and when the time is right, he will surely be cleared to play. For now, he is with us to advise the youngsters who need his guidance on what it is to play for this big club,” he said.
The centre-back had his surgery last year and has been recovering since then. An ACL injury is a sprain or tear in which the ligament is stretched beyond its normal range.