Young Warriors ready for battle

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Despite spending 17 hours on the road, the Zimbabwe Under-23 football captain Qadr Amini says they will go out for an outright win when they face Botswana in a second round, first leg All Africa Games qualifier today.

The match kicks off at 4pm at Molepolole Sports Complex 50km from the capital city, Gaborone, as the Young Warriors seek to qualify for the African showcase in Mozambique in September this year.

Amini told NewsDay Sport at the Phakalane Golf Estate on Thursday that they are raring to go for the crucial tie on Friday afternoon.

“We are playing away from home but we want to win the match. The worst result for us would be a draw. We want a good result.

“Playing away from home is sometimes difficult. But we must remain calm, relax and concentrate on getting a good result,” said Amini. He said the players should be at their best as qualifying for the All Africa Games would open more doors for them.

“We must qualify for the All Africa Games at all costs. It will be a great chance for players to play outside the country because there will be agents looking for players there,” he said. Striker William Manondo of Kiglon, who could start off the bench, said they know what to do when they play Botswana because they were familiar with their type of play.

“We have watched most of their games on television and we know that they are not really strong in their midfield and defence. We want to capitalise on that,” said Manondo. Dynamos midfielder Archford Gutu agreed with his teammates saying their worst result for them would be a draw.

“We want to win the match. But our worst result would be a draw. Playing away from home can be an advantage because we will not have pressure from the fans. But I think we will win 2-0,” said Gutu.

The Young Warriors received a warm welcome from the Botswana Football Association delegation on arrival from Zimbabwe on Wednesday night and they are comfortably booked at Phakalane Golf Estate.

The team travelled more than 17 hours to Botswana but the morale in camp is high as they search for the crucial victory. The Warriors had a feel of the match venue from 3pm yesterday with coach Friday Phiri trying different combinations.

The Young Warriors beat Zambia 4-3 on aggregate in the first round, having won 3-1 away while Botswana got past Swaziland 2-1 on aggregate.

The winner of the two-legged tie will meet the winner between Angola and South Africa, who are also doing battle this weekend.

Probable first 11

Arial Sibanda, Obey Mwerahari, Qadr Amini, Lincoln Zvasiya, Victor Kamuka, Timire Mamvura, Devon Chafa, Archford Gutu, Simba Sithole, Denver Mukamba, Joel Ngodzo

Fixtures

Guinea Bissau vs. Senegal
Liberia vs Nigeria
Ghana vs Benin
Gabon vs DR Congo
Uganda vs Tanzania
Eritrea vs Kenya
South Africa vs Angola
Botswana vs. Zimbabwe