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It’s war at Rufaro


Zimbabwe national Under-23 soccer head coach Friday Phiri will name an unchanged side when his team clash with a confident Zambia in the Zone XI All-Africa Games qualifiers preliminary second leg qualifier at Rufaro Stadium Sunday.

The Young Warriors go into the match carrying a 2-3 advantage and are on the verge of qualifying for the first round stage where they will meet either Angola or South Africa. Striker Simba Sithole and Denver Mukamba were the heroes for Zimbabwe in Lusaka after they scored the vital away goals.

Young Chipolopolo team manager Jeff Chipilungu yesterday said he was anticipating a tough match but was confident they would overturn the deficit.

“It will be a difficult match playing a well-organised team like Zimbabwe but we will definitely win the match. We prepared well and I think we will do better this time,” said the team manager. Young Warriors assistant coach Darlington Dodo revealed that they would not tamper with a team that gave them a good result in Zambia.

“You don’t change a winning team, it’s a basic rule in football,” said Dodo. “We believe in continuity. Those who played in Zambia played extremely well and we want to give them another chance to prove themselves,” he added. Dodo said he is aware of the threat that would be posed by the wounded Zambians and they are expecting a very open affair.

“The normal thing is for them to attack us from the start but with the team we have, we will attack. We won’t sit back and allow them to come to us as our game plan will be to attack,” said the Gunners coach.

Highlanders’ Ariel Sibanda will guard the goalposts, Steven Matsangaise is expected to partner Monomotapa’s Lincoln Zvasiya in the heart of defence while skipper Qadr Amini will operate from the left-back and Blessing Sande on the right will definitely cause more than a few headaches for the Young Chipolopolo.

Devon Chafa and Timire Mamvura will anchor while the combination of the stylish Archford Gutu and the slippery Denver Mukamba will provide the creative flair.

Speedy winger Rahman Kutsanzira and the highly-rated Sithole, who banged a brace before limping off at half-time at Nkoloma Stadium in Zambia, is expected to add few more goals to his tally.

The players were upbeat after their morning training session yesterday with all of those interviewed predicting a huge win for the hosts.

This is what they said:

Sibanda: “We are going to win 2-0. They are a good team but we are well prepared. They will expect us to defend but we want to shock them.”

Mukamba: “It will be a tough match but we will be too hot to handle for them. With the home crowd behind us, we will be unmarkable. I actually feel for them because it will be a complete humiliation.”

Gutu: “It will be goals galore on Sunday; we are going to beat the Zambians by a three-goal margin.” Chafa added: “It will be an outright win; we are expecting nothing short of a victory. We just need to keep the focus”

Ngodzo predicted a 2-0 win. “We have a very strong team and playing at home will give us that added advantage. We are winning 2-0. Jomo Cosmos striker Matthew Rusike: “Morale in the camp is high; everyone is looking forward to the game. We will beat them 3-0.”

The Young Chipolopolo team arrived in Harare on Thursday evening and had a morning workout at Gwanzura Stadium Friday.

They are expected to have a feel of the match venue, Rufaro Stadium, Saturday.

Probable line-up: A Sibanda, B Sande, S Matsangaise, L Zvasiya, Q Amini, D Chafa, T Mamvura, A Gutu, D Mukamba, R Kutsanzira, S Sithole

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