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Zimbabwe Warriors Clash With Malawi in Crucial Africa Cup Tie

  • Michael Kariati

History is starring the faces of Zimbabwe’s Warriors when they trot onto the National Sports Stadium on Sunday for their fifth game in the run up to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations against the Flames of Malawi.

The Warriors know pretty well that victory over their neighbours will bring them closer to qualification to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

A win for the Zimbabweans coupled by a draw or loss for Guinea in Swaziland will effectively lead the Warriors to Gabon for the finals in January 2017.

A draw or loss will not do any good to the Warriors as the Syli Nationale of Guinea are waiting on the wings to take control of the group with their last game at home to count on.

Zimbabwe Football Association president Phillip Chiyangwa says he is expecting nothing from the Zimbabwean team apart from a win.

“I plan to win. My game is to win. I don’t expect anything from the technical team, I expect results,” said Chiyangwa.

When the Warriors and the Flames last met in Blantyre, Zimbabwe prevailed 2-1 with Khama Biliart grabbing a classic winner.

Although he has a collection of international stars compared to the Flames, Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa has warned his players not to be overconfident for this would have some far-reaching repercussions.

The winning goal against Malawi came from a set piece. The two goals in the 4-0 rout of Swaziland also came from set pieces and so did the goals in Tuesday’s friendly match against the Cranes of Uganda.

Pasuwa says he knows this is where the success of his team lies and has been working on the set pieces to fine tune his players.

“As you know now set pieces win games. We need to put everything in place,” said Pasuwa.

Biliart is with no doubt the star of the show. The South African Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year has been in sparkling form for his club Mamelodi Sundowns, leading them to the league title.

Former Warriors star and football analyst, Alois Bunjira, has challenged Biliart to transform his club form to the national team since the nation’s hopes are pinned on him.

“I hope he takes that confidence that is on him. Khama, everyone is banking on him,” said Bunjira.

With victory a priority, South African-based Kuda Mahachi of Golden Arrows has no doubts that the Warriors will win this game.

“The team is fit. Everyone is in shape. I think, we gonna win on Sunday,” said Mahachi.

Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association secretary general, Mathias Kufandirimbwa, has asked Zimbabweans to make the trip to the National Sports Stadium to enjoy themselves and celebrate.

He offers some advice to coach Kalisto Pasuwa.

“The coach should not bring too many changes in the team which beat Swaziland. He should keep the team intact. If we wants to experiments, then he can do that in the second half. Otherwise, go are going to win Sunday,” said Kufandirimbwa.

After 10 years, the Warriors have never been closer to qualification than they are right now. However, in football, celebration only comes after the job has been done.

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