Sweswe’s war cry

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Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs defender Thomas Sweswe has chanted a war cry and called for focus ahead of the final 2012 Africa Cup of Nations football qualifier against the Cape Verde Islands in Praia next Saturday.

Sweswe, who missed the last home qualifier against Liberia which the Warriors on 3-0 due to suspension, is back in the team together with recalled teammate Zhaimu Jambo and Mamelodi Sundowns striker Nyasha Mushekwi.

The Warriors lie in second place in Group A with eight points after two wins, two draws and a loss, a point behind leaders Mali who play Liberia in Monrovia on the same day.

Cape Verde have seven points and like Zimbabwe and Mali can still qualify for Gabon and Equatorial Guinea if they win and Liberia manage to beat Mali.

But Sweswe is not worried about the results in Monrovia, but the war in Praia.

“It’s good to be back in the team and I would like to thank the technical team for picking me up after missing the last game because of suspension.

“It’s going to be a tough match in Cape Verde since both teams still have a chance to qualify. So we are going to war and we are ready for anything from the reception we are going to get and the intimidation.

“We just need to be focused and concentrate and play according to our game plan since the coaches would have done their homework. We just need to win our game . . . we don’t care what will be happening in Liberia.

“So we need to be focused on our game, win and then see after the game where we will be,” Sweswe said from his Naturena base in Johannesburg on Wednesday afternoon.

He said the return of leading scorer Knowledge Musona of Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim and Mushekwi would be a huge boost for the team.

“Musona and Mushekwi are a big boost for the team . . . I’m happy to welcome them. We need every player ready to die on the pitch for this cause.”

Zimbabwe and Cape Verde played a 0-0 draw in October last year at the National Sports Stadium in the opening qualifier after Zifa had appointed co-coaches Norman Mapeza and Madinda Ndlovu which disturbed the team’s preparations.

The preparations had also been disrupted by Zifa who let Belgian Tom Sainfiet take charge of the team in two training sessions before he could obtain a work permit.

He was eventually deported, leaving the team to work with the new set-up 48 hours before the match.

But now, Sweswe believes this is water under the bridge and a new display of talent is ready to take the Warriors forward.

“We drew in Zim, but if you check now our team is almost new. It’s not the same players who played in that game so now the approach is different; the team is now full of youngsters who are still hungry for success.

“I would urge the supporters to be with us in spirit from home to everywhere in the world and not to forget us in their prayers. We are in this together fighting for one cause, which is qualifying for Afcon,” Sweswe added.

Meanwhile, Mushekwi has hit form at the right time for Mamelodi Sundowns after finally getting on target in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic in an Absa Premiership clash at Loftus Stadium in Tshwane.

Struggling in front of goal for the Warriors with no goal in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations campaign and having missed the last match against Liberia, Mushekwi was handed a starting place in the Tuesday match.

Eric Mathoho had given Celtic a first-half lead before Mushekwi, guilty of missing three clear chances, scored the equaliser before Mozambican striker Elias Pelembe snatched the winner in injury time.

This is good news for Mapeza ahead of next Saturday’s crucial qualifier against the Cape Verde Islands in Praia, a must-win match for Zimbabwe.

The moved moved Downs to the top of the table, for 24 hours at least, ahead of Tshwane rivals SuperSport United on goals scored.

Mushekwi had the first of a number of golden opportunities to score when he found himself one-on-one with Patrick Tignyemb, but the Cameroon stopper saved his point-blank effort.

The Zimbabwean striker then missed two great heading opportunities, failing to hit the target with either.

Sundowns were level on 55 minutes as Mushekwi finally found the back of the net and it was a fine goal too. He brought the ball down on the edge of the area and fired home low past a statuesque Tignyemb.

Mushekwi missed a great chance to give his side the lead as he received the ball eight yards out, but fired over the bar with Tignyemb and the Celtic defence scrambling.

Warriors number one Tapuwa Kapini was dropped in AmaZulu’s 4-0 thrashing of Khama Billiat’s Ajax Cape Town on Tuesday night. It was AmaZulu’s first win of the season and under new coach Roger Palmgren.

The South Africa-based players will link up with Dynamos goalkeeper Washington Arubi, FC Platinum’s Daniel Vheremu and Caps United’s Tapiwa Khumbuyani on Monday night at the OR Tambo International Airport.

These are Kapini, Method Mwanjali, Sweswe, Gilbert Mapemba, Jambo, Tinashe Nengomasha, Willard Katsande, Lincoln Zvasiya, Billiat, Tafadzwa Rusike and Mushekwi.

Belgium-based Vusa Nyoni, France-based Ovidy Karuru, Musona, who plays for Hoffenheim in Germany, and Edward Sadomba, who plies his trade in Sudan, will go directly to Praia from their bases.

Warriors manager Sharrif Mussa said Karuru had not been completely ruled out of the match.