Warriors captain for the African Nations Championships (Chan) Partson Jaure believes they have the best squad to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Zimbabwe are making a third straight Chan appearance and Jaure heads the mission to sail past the group stages for the first time.
He also leads a group of players shouldering the weight of a southern African region eager to strike back and break West and North African dominance in continental tournaments.
“We have the best team,” said Jaure. “We are a selection of the coach’s best players and we will qualify for the knockout stages. We have been working very hard for this tournament. We have to win the first game against Morocco at all costs to boost our confidence for the next games.”
The last time Jaure captained the Warriors was in August 2012 when Zimbabwe lost 2-1 to Zambia in an international friendly match to officially open the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
“I was also captain of Dynamos Under-14s coached by Mr [Richard]Chihoro so I am used to being a leader,” the defender said.
Jaure’s deputy Masimba Mambare did light training on Friday with an injury in their first training session of the year.
Assistant coach Kalisto Pasuwa presided over the afternoon workout which also saw team doctor Nick Munyonga conducting agility tests. Absent at the session was striker Donald Ngoma who was on his way from Kwekwe while head coach Ian Gorowa arrived in the country on Friday night from a short break in South Africa.
The Warriors are assured of tremendous support from the country’s South African-based citizens while Mozambique would also enjoy a fair fan base.
Just like their Group B opponentsMorocco who have seven Raja Casablanca players, the Warriors have as many Dynamos players in their squad. The Warriors are scheduled to play a practice match against Dynamos at Gwanzura this afternoon.
When the Chan mission ends on February 1, another bigger assignment awaits Gorowa’s men.
The bid for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) starts, but later in September.
The draw for Afcon 2015 is scheduled to be conducted in Johannesburg at the end of Chan, with qualification matches within 12 groups of four teams being played inside a crammed three-month period, between September and November next year. Three best runner-ups will join the group winners for the tournament.
After Chan, Gorowa would rely on friendly internationals to gear up for the Afcon tournament which would now be his top priority.