NORMAN Mapeza is confident Zimbabwe will upstage Malawi in an academic African Nations Cup qualifier at Barbourfields on Sunday.
ify>Both Zimbabwe and Malawi can no longer make it to finals of the biennial tournament in Ghana next year, with Morocco claiming the group’s sole berth.
Mapeza, appointed to take charge of the dead-rubber on an interim basis, has called up a youthful side of only locally based players he believes will be part of Zimbabwe’s 2010 World Cup campaign.
Although key midfielder Clement Matawu as well as promising defender Obert Moyo have been ruled out of the tie, Mapeza is confident the Warriors are still strong enough to beat Malawi.
“These players will be part of the 2010 World Cup campaign and I assure the nation to expect nothing less than a win,” Mapeza told IndependentSport yesterday. “We are taking this match seriously.”
Mapeza, who is yet to prove his coaching credentials at Premiership side Monomotapa, led Zimbabwe in his first match in charge against Mozambique in an international friendly in Maputo last month.
The Warriors lost on penalties after holding the Mambas to a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
Probably the performance in Maputo gave Mapeza confidence that his charges will collect maximum points against Malawi, who shocked the Warriors 1-0 in the reverse fixture.
The match comes at a time Zimbabwe have for the first time dropped out of the Fifa top 100 world rankings, although they are still 10 places above Malawi who are positioned 111.
Malawi are not taking any chances after they called on their foreign-based players to make the Barbourfields clash.
The Flames have nine foreign-based professionals in their squad, including the Russia-based Esau Kanyenda of Rostov.
Most of the other players are coming from South African clubs, among them former Caps United midfielder Joseph Kamwendo, voted Zimbabwe’s Soccer Star of the Year in 2005. He now plays for Orlando Pirates.
Malawi will however be missing three key players — Peter Mponda, James Chilapondwa as well as the Denmark-based Clement Kafafwa — due to injuries and suspension.