The mystery injury that sidelined Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha has been solved with a suitably ambiguous cure – a pot of “magic tea” from the Balkans.
The A-League’s reigning golden boot has been declared fully fit to take on Sydney FC and childhood hero Alessandro Del Piero at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The Albanian marksman has trained three times this week and will spearhead Brisbane’s attempt to bounce back from three consecutive losses.
Berisha missed last week’s 4-1 defeat to Melbourne Heart because of a strange, undiagnosed ailment that caused him sharp pain throughout his abdominal area.
Doctors still aren’t sure exactly what it was but a series of cortisone injections last week seem to have cleared the problem.
Berisha is convinced it was an secret herbal concoction from eastern Europe that is the reason for his return to fitness.
“He said he had some tea that someone recommended and he thinks maybe the tea did the trick. It’s magic tea,” an amused coach Rado Vidosic said.
“I won’t go into it, whatever fixed him. I think (the tea) is from somewhere in the Balkans.
“His injury still a mystery but thank god the mystery is behind us. If we need him to play 90 minutes, he’ll play 90 minutes.”
That is music to the ears of captain Matt Smith, who knows how much of a boost a 100 percent fit Berisha brings to Brisbane.
“Just his presence alone is certainly felt within the team,” Smith said.
“We’re pleased to have him back. He’s definitely raring to go.
“Bes is the sort of player who definitely won’t put his hand up to come off. The only way he’s coming off is if the manager pulls him.”
In further good news for the Roar, goalkeeper Michael Theo will also line up between the sticks for the Sky Blues clash after he was cleared of a calf strain.
Theo trained successfully on Thursday and will look to recover from a bad night in the goalmouth against the Heart.
But those two might not be the only changes made by Vidosic this week.
The coach refused to name names but said other players could drop out of the side for form reasons.
“I think there may be some changes but I still haven’t made up my mind,” he said.
“I will before the game tomorrow. I’m still looking at some players. I just need to see how the players will respond.”
Smith said the Roar are wary of a Sky Blues outfit that will be coached by caretaker Steve Corica this week, following the sudden resignation of Ian Crook.
“We’re going into the game 100 per cent focused on what we need to do,” he said.
“There’s no complacency – there’s never been complacency with us, no matter what the situation of the opposing club.
“What we’re purely focused on is playing well.”