The Warriors on Wednesday received a morale booster ahead of their grand battle against Liberia in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier match at the National Sports Stadium with a phenomenal climb on the latest Coca-Cola/Fifa world rankings.
The match against the West Africans is scheduled for September 4.
Zimbabwe’s amazing charge up the ladder came after the team’s 2-0 win over bitter rivals Zambia in a friendly match on August 10.
Norman Mapeza’s men are now regarded the 74th best team in the world up from 86, while they are now 17th on the African continent, a rung above nemesis Zambia.
Only Cape Verde Islands are ranked better than the Warriors in their continental qualifying group on 15th place with 444 points while other opponents Mali and Liberia are graded lower than Zimbabwe.
Mali are 21st in Africa while the Warriors’ imminent opponents Liberia are a distant 31st and Mapeza believes the news could not have come at a better time.
Mapeza said: “It shows that we moving in the right direction and everyone now appreciates that rankings are very important especially for players who want to move to Europe.
“The good news is a motivating factor for our players and boosts confidence, but we need to work a lot harder because this is a must-win match. While I appreciate that we are now better ranked, we should not get carried away.”
The former Warriors captain also took time to shed light on the availability of star striker Knowledge Musona, who was reportedly injured at his new base in Germany where he is now turning out for Bundesliga outfit Hoffeinhem.
“We should know Musona’s actual status by Monday otherwise we want our team doctors to look at him to assess his injury. “This is a crucial game and we must win at all costs. People must come in their thousands on match day to give the team support,” he said.
In the reverse fixture played at the Samuel Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia last year, the Warriors were subjected to ill-treatment ranging from being booked into a hotel without water and electricity to having their team bus’ tyres punctured by Liberian fans just after their final training session.
But Mapeza believes there is no need to avenge the horrible experience where locals in downtown Monrovia relieved themselves near the Warriors’ hotel located near the Atlantic Ocean with music being blasted away nearby.
He said: “I don’t believe in retaliating. Actually these guys must be given a warm reception and be given a good hotel so that they learn to treat others better in future. I agree we had a nasty experience in Liberia, but in football we don’t work like that.”
The Warriors go into camp on Monday with full training expected to resume the following day.
The largest contingent of players is coming from South Africa with only Edward Sadomba arriving from Sudan, where he turns out for Al Hilal, Ovidy Karuru from France, Musona from Germany, Quincy Antipas from Denmark and Vusa Nyoni from Belgium.