MOZAMBIQUE captain Elias Pelembe has warned the Warriors ahead of the two teams’ Group G 2014 World Cup qualifier at Rufaro this afternoon.
BY ALBERT MARUFU
The 29-year-old who plays for crack South African side Mamelodi Sundowns said although the “Os Mambas”, just like the Warriors, are out of contention for the 2014 World Cup finals, pride is at stake.
Going into the last round of Group G matches, Zimbabwe currently anchor the log with a single point, coincidentally gained following a nil all draw against Mozambique in Maputo.
Mozambique, who have one point more than the Warriors, are second from the bottom, while Egypt lead the group with 15 points. Guinea are placed second, five points behind the leaders.
“We are out of contention for next year’s World Cup, but we are here to win this game. Zimbabweans should come to the stadium and enjoy good football. We want to maintain the spirit of winning.
“This is the team that qualified for next year’s African Nations Championships [Chan] and if they can win against Zimbabwe at home, that will be good for their confidence,” said Pelembe.
Pelembe, who together with Ajax Cape Town winger Stelio “Telinho” Ernesto are the only two foreign-based players brought in by the team’s coach Joao Chissano, could not however hide his respect for Zimbabwe.
Statistics favour the Warriors as they have won 11, drawn five and lost one game in the two sides’ 17 meetings since 1979.
“Zimbabwe has good players and I know some of them. It is going to be very difficult to beat them, but we will try our best,” Pelembe conceded.
His sentiments were echoed by the team’s coach Chissano who said a victory today would help the team’s preparations for the Chan finals to be held in South Africa in January.
“This game is very important for us because we are building a team for Chan. That is the main reason we left out foreign-based players. Local players are in good shape unlike European-based stars whose season has just started,” he said.
Chissano, whose side held Angola 1-1 away to book a place at the Chan finals, however said he was not worried even if the team lost the game as focus was on building a team.
In the absence of the foreignbased players notably goalkeeper Ricardo (Bolvista), Mexer and Simao, Chissano, who brought in a squad of 20 players, will have to rely on Pelembe, Telinho and strikers Sonito of Liga Maculmana and Ferroviário’s Mario.
Warriors’ assistant coach Mkhuphali Masuku said his charges would be out to show the fans that their victory over Zambia that enabled them to qualify for Chan was no fluke.
“This game will aid in our preparations for Chan and it is not a dead rubber at all, as some view it. We are building a team for the future and the addition of Willard “Bute” Katsande will strengthen the side,” he said. FC Platinum midfielder Ali Sadiki has been ruled out because of injury.
G Chigova, O Machapa, P Jaure, E Chipeta, B Kangwa, W Katsande, M Mambare, P Moyo, T Muparati, K Mahachi, N Mazivisa