Zimbabwe Warriors will look to draw inspiration from their recent Cosafa triumph in South Africa to upstage the Brave Warriors of Namibia in a tricky 2018 African Nation Championship (Chan) second round first leg qualifier at Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek this afternoon.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The newly-crowned regional champions are oozing confidence as they embark on a quest to qualify for a third Chan finals appearance in Kenya next year.
Warriors captain Ocean Mushure, who had a fantastic tournament in South Africa, scoring four times believes the recent success will help the team win against Namibia.
“We are looking forward to a win because we are well motivated. Our confidence is high because we are Cosafa champions and most of the players who played in South Africa are there so I think it’s going to inspire us to do well and bring a positive result from Namibia,” Mushure told Standardsport.
“And also there is far much less pressure playing one game in Namibia compared to the pressure we had in South Africa. The biggest lesson we leant at Cosafa was to work as a team. If we work as a team, we will succeed and that’s how we want to beat Namibia.”
Sunday Chidzambwa, whose success at the Cosafa tournament saw Zifa dumping Rahman Gumbo who had earlier been given charge of the Chan duties, was retained as coach. He included the bulk of the locally-based players who participated at the regional tournament.
Unlike his captain, Chidzambwa was more circumspect ahead of the tie.
“If you look at our opponents they are not an easy team. We watched them in South Africa; they are a good team full of running and we are not expecting an easy match at all.
It’s going to be a difficult match,” Chidzambwa said.
Despite failing to go past the quarterfinals, the Brave Warriors are no pushovers.
In fact, they have beaten Zimbabwe for four in the last two meetings between the countries, winning 4-2 and 4-1.
With foreign-based players ineligible to play in the competition, Zimbabwe will look a bit different. There is no place for the South Africa-based players Ovidy Karuru, goalkeeper George Chigova, Knox Mutizwa and Michelle Katsvairo, who shone brightly at the Cosafa tournament.
Chidzambwa is likely to pick Takabva Mawaya who deputised Chigova in South Africa ahead of newcomer Black Rhinos’ Herbert Razawo between the sticks.
Yadah’s new acquisition Dennis Dauda is a sure bet in the heart of defence alongside Jimmy Tigere while midfielder Liberty Chakoroma of Ngezi Platinum who was a makeshift defender at Cosafa moves up field.
Former Caps United captain Moses Muchenje and the Dynamos duo of Denver Mukamba will fight for a starting place in midfield where Gerald Takwara, Raphael Manuvire and hot shot Talent Chawapiwa are assured of starting berths.
Upfront, inform CAPS United striker Abbas Amidu battles for the nod against Bosso’s Prince Dude and Francesco Zekumbawire.
Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti is expecting a tough encounter against the Cosafa champions.
“We are facing a very tough Zimbabwe team that has active players and champion players and for us, our players need to put in an extra effort if we’re to have a chance against Zimbabwe,” he told the Namibia FA website.