Man-of-the moment and Kaizer Chiefs hotshot Knowledge Musona will be the main man for the Warriors as they take on Mozambique in an international friendly match at Machava Stadium in Maputo on Wednesday afternoon.
After his merciless destruction of Orlando Pirates in the Soweto Derby last weekend, Musona goes into today’s match with his head high hoping to replicate club form in national colours.
Musona fired blanks in the 0-0 draw against Cape Verde Islands in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier last month, but has recovered his form at club level.
This is probably due to the type of formation used at Chiefs where he has the industrious Tinashe Nengomasha in the same team and can concentrate on getting the last ball from the midfield.
This is unlike in the match against Cape Verde where he was forced to go deep in midfield in search of the ball when the midfield proved immobile.
Speaking after the derby win over Pirates, Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic said “Musona is a young player and last season I was very, very careful with him because you know young players can get lost very easily.
“He is a big talent; he is a hard worker and a nice guy. I think he’s got a great future in front of him.”
Vermezovic has, however, cautioned the fans not to expect too much from Musona.
“I can’t say Musona will be the top scorer this season, but he is a good player and a good scorer. But I think this season will be more difficult for him than the last one, because now everybody knows him,” he warned.
Given this, caretaker coach Madinda Ndlovu is likely to start Musona with rookie Terrence Mandaza upfront while Mamelodi Sundowns’ Nyasha Mushekwi will come as an impact player.
There is no doubt that Dynamos goalkeeper Washington Arubi will be handed the first jersey while Daniel Vheremu and Thomas Sweswe will form the central defence.
The choice for wing-backs is complicated:
Gilbert Mapemba and Zephaniah Ngodzo will fight it out for the right back slot while Qadr Amin and Daniel Vheremu will battle for the left back position.
Successive national team coaches have used a double anchor and this has not provided results for the Warriors as observed in the Cape Verde match.
Ndlovu has the same predicament this time around with both Nengomasha and Esrom Nyandoro in the team.
He could play both although Charles Chiutsa’s presence presents a more attacking dimension.
The former Caps United duo of Tafadzwa Rusike ad Oscar Machapa are likely to occupy the attacking wings.
Seven local players arrived in Johannesburg on Monday night to link with the South Africa-based contingent before departing for Maputo at midday.
The team was due to train at the match venue late Tuesday as the coach wanted to work on combinations.
Speaking ahead of the departure for Maputo, Ndlovu was confident of a good showdown with the Mambas despite the little time available for preparations.
The last three encounters between the two nations have ended in 0-0 draws with the Warriors last success in Maputo coming way back in 1998.
Meanwhile, stand-in captain Method Mwanjali mysteriously pulled out of the game at the airport in Johannesburg. Ndlovu did not comment .
Tapuwa Kapini (Platinum Stars, SA), Washington Arubi (Dynamos)
Gilbert Mapemba (Caps United), Daniel Vheremu (Gunners), Thomas Sweswe (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Zephaniah Ngodzo (Highlanders), Method Mwanjali (Mamelodi Sundowns, SA), Qadr Amin (Gunners)
Esrom Nyandoro (Mamelodi Sundowns, SA), Tinashe Nengomasha (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Charles Chiutsa (Monomotapa, Zim), Tafadzwa Rusike (Ajax Cape Town, SA), Benjamin Marere (Dynamos, Zim), Oscar Machapa (Moroka Swallows, SA)
Knowledge Musona (Kaizer Chiefs, SA), Phillip Marufu (FC Lupopo, DRC), Terrence Mandaza (Platinum Stars, SA), Nyasha Mushekwi (Mamelodi Sundowns, SA)