Castro has been out injured for six weeks after sustaining an ankle injury last month. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Despite Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas suggesting that striker Leonardo Castro could return fit in time for the Soweto Derby on Saturday, Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has argued the contrary.

Castro has been out injured for six weeks after sustaining an ankle injury last month when Amakhosi beat Cape Town City 4-1 away from home, and Mokwena, who worked with the forward at Mamelodi Sundowns before, insisted that the Colombian wasn’t one to rush to get back on the pitch following a serious setback.

“Unless there is a miraculous recovery, he won’t be available,” Mokwena said.

“Knowing Castro from the time that I spent with him at Sundowns, when Castro says he is injured, believe you me, Castro is injured. And he will tell you as the coach that ‘I am injured’, in fact Castro will even go as far as booking a flight to Colombia to spend time with his wife when he is injured. So, I wouldn’t be surprised that Castro is not in the country.” 

Leonardo Castro reacts in pain after injury during the match against Cape Town City FC at Cape Town Stadium in September. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Leonardo Castro reacts in pain after injury during the match against Cape Town City FC at Cape Town Stadium in September. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Chiefs coach Solinas has had to field numerous questions about when exactly his key striker was scheduled to return to action.

It wasn’t until Sunday, after Amakhosi beat Black Leopards on penalties in the opening round of the Telkom Knockout, that Solinas confirmed that Castro would resume training this week and possibly be in line to play in the derby.

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“When does he start training? Is his wife in the country? Guys I know Castro very well, I know the pressures he has to deal with on a day-to-day basis. To face a Castro that has been out for the last couple of weeks is a big risk for Chiefs, to be honest. 

If they have him then good luck, he gives them a different dimension. But I will speak to you after the match about Castro,” Mokwena concluded.    


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