The Warriors of Zimbabwe are set to leave Saturday for Rwanda for the 2016 Africa Nations Championships with the football family hoping for the better.
The Warriors were supposed to have left last Sunday but could not do so after the Zimbabwe Football Association failed to secure enough funds to take care of the players during the days in which the Confederation of African Football are not obliged to do so.
According to Warriors team manager ShariffMussa, Caf are obliged to finance the teams’ stay in the hosting country starting from three days before the teams’ opening match and not three days before the start of the tournament.
“Caf have indicated that they will take responsibility of teams three days before they kick of their opening game not of three days before the start of the tournament,” said Mussa.
Zimbabwe are scheduled to play their opening game against Zambia on Tuesday and their arrival tomorrow will be in time for Caf’s financial backing.
The Warriors have been in high spirits since returning to camp after the Christmas and New Year holidays and coach Kalisto Pasuwa has promised that they are not going there to make up the numbers but to win the tournament.
““We are going out there to get good results. We are not going there to make up the numbers but to fare better,” said Pasuwa.
Captain Hardlife Zvirekwi also believes the Warriors will go far in this tournament but adds that to make their dream a reality they first have to win their opening game against traditional rivals and neighbours, Zambia.
““The first match is very important as it will set the tournament we are playing. I think we really need to go for it and win,” said Zvirekwi.
Zambia on their part are not taking things lightly and have recalled their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations winning captain Christopher Katongo who will lead a youthful side in their quest for another continental
Katongo, who has also played in China, has now joined Zambian club side Green Buffaloes after a spell at Absa Premiership side Bidvest Wits and revealed he wants to achieve something new with the Chipolopolo.
““I am happy to be back. I hope we can achieve something new with the national team,” said the Zambian skipper.
The Zambians have built their team around only five of their top clubs, Power Dynamos, Zanaco, Zesco, Green Eagles and Green Buffaloes.
However, football fans are backing Zimbabwe to steamroll over the Zambians. Isaac Maheya, a member of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters’ Association is one of them and says he is certain that Zimbabwe will come out tops.
“Our players are very good players. We are very certain that they are going to succeed in this match,” said Maheya.
TALENTED LOCAL PLAYERS
Another of Zimbabwe’s football followers, Mayor Makunike, refused to predict the outcome of the match but said the Warriors will have to fight hard for victory. Although captain Danny Phiri is home injured, Zimbabwe has called probably the best locally-based players available including Ronald Chitiyo, Edmore Chirambadare, Ocean Mushure, Knox Mutizwa, Raphael Manuvire, Joel Ngodzo, and Elvis Chipezeze.
Apart from Zambia, Zimbabwe are also in the same group with Mali and Uganda. The top two teams from the group qualify for the quarter finals.