FORMER Warriors captain Willard Katsande has tipped the Zimbabwe Warriors to emerge from a group that includes DRC, Congo and Liberia to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations [Afcon] finals to be held in Cameroon.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The Warriors begin their qualification campaign with a home tie against tricky West Africans, Liberia in exactly three weeks.
Katsande dismissed the notion that the Warriors are in a much tougher group this time around compared to the previous campaign which saw them top the group that included Guinea, Malawi and Swaziland.
“Personally, I think we have a huge chance of qualifying for Afcon for the second consecutive time. I believe it’s difficult and unfair to compare because football has changed and there’s nothing like a small team,” he told Standardsport.
“Every opposition is tougher nowadays. We need to prepare properly and get enough support from all the stakeholders and then there is nothing that can stop us from achieving that goal,” the Kaizer Chiefs vice-captain added.
Katsande captained the Warriors at the Afcon finals in Gabon at the beginning of the year before announcing his retirement from international football after the team fell at the group stages.
However, the midfield hardman made a U-turn and availed himself for selection – with the first qualification fixture in sight.
“I have made it clear that I am available to represent my country whenever I am called up to play. But it all depends with the coaches, whether they need me or not, but I believe whoever is chosen will do the job.
“I have so much respect for [Norman] Mapeza and I think he is one of the best coaches that we have in Zimbabwe. I rate him highly and believe the team is in good hands with him as coach,” he said.
Katsande has been a vital member of the current Kaizer Chiefs team under Steve Komphela and Chiefs have struggled without the former Highway and Gunners player in the Absa premier league this season.
It is, however, still not clear if Mapeza will build a team around players like Katsande, who led the Warriors to qualification for the last Afcon.