JOHANNESBURG — In his last match for Zimbabwe, Orlando Pirates striker Tendai Ndoro was on the scoresheet, albeit on a losing cause after coming on as a second half substitute in the 4-2 loss to North African giants Tunisia at the Afcon finals in Gabon.
Then, Ndoro was playing second fiddle to Nyasha Mushekwi for the strikers’ role but with the China-based marksman reportedly banned from the national team at the behest of Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa and subsequently overlooked by new coach Norman Mapeza, the former premier league top scorer is set to play a bigger role in the team.
While the 29-year-old forward, who is part of the Warriors team that will take on Liberia this afternoon, snubbed the local media last week, he outlined Zimbabwe’s objectives ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying campaign to an online South African publication Goal.com.
“Well, we shall do our best during the qualifying campaign because our main objective is to reach the finals again,” Ndoro said.
“Look, we want to win all of our first round matches in our group in order to put ourselves in a good position in the race for a place in the finals.”
Ndoro made two halftime substitute appearances when the Warriors disappointingly bowed out of the 2017 Afcon finals in Gabon after finishing at the bottom of Group B with just one point.
He sat out the whole match in the opener against Algeria which ended in a 2-2 stalemate before making a half time appearance in the 2-0 loss to the Teranga Lions and another scoring one in the final group game.
“After qualifying, the main target would be to progress into the knockout stages after failing to advance from our group in Gabon,” he said.
“I believe that we can go as far as the semi-finals. We do have the talent to achieve this, but we need to work hard as a team in order to meet our targets.”
Ndoro is one of the four strikers, including Evans Rusike, Knowledge Musona and young Prince Dube, called up by coach Mapeza.
It is the absence of Mushekwi and Cuthbert Malajila that immediately makes Ndoro a front runner to lead the Warriors attack during this campaign, with Musona likely to be used wide.
Zimbabwe has to beat DRC, Congo and Liberia to the sole automatic qualification ticket in the race for Cameroon 2019.