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Mapeza looks ahead


Warriors coach Norman Mapeza is seeing a tough road ahead in the 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifiers following qualification of Mozambique from the preliminary round stages.

Mozambique became the fourth team in the Warriors’ qualifying group after the Mambas defeated Comoros 5-1 on aggregate in the preliminary stages on Tuesday night.

They had won the first leg 1-0 away last Friday and cruised to an easy home win under new coach Gert Engels.

The other two teams in the group are Egypt, who fell 2-0 to Brazil in an international friendly on Tuesday and Guinea, who knocked out Nigeria from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

Having failed to qualify for the 2012 Afcon finals, pressure is definitely on the Warriors to put a much improved performance in both the 2013 Afcon qualifiers where they meet Burundi and the World Cup run down.

“The reason, they (Mozambique) qualified is because they are good team and definitely it’s not going to be an easy group considering the other teams we have in the group.

“We will give them the respect they deserve because we cannot deny that African football is improving. I will get some DVDs from Zambia and see how they played in the last qualifiers,” Mapeza said.

He added: “The most important thing, like I have always said, is to win all home games because playing away in Africa is not easy. You heard what Pitso (Mosimane, South Africa coach) said at the Press conference the other day. So we just have to win all home games.”

Zimbabwe has not lost at home since Mapeza took over and if that trend continues, the Warriors are assured of nine points from the three home games and hope to pick up draws and maybe one win away.
Zimbabwe beat South Africa 2-1 on Tuesday in an international friendly meant to keep the team in shape and try out new players.

Mozambique’s best known player is Elias Pelembe who plays for Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa. They have an array of players scattered in Switzerland, Egypt, Greece, Paraguay, Cyprus, Angola, Portugal and Israel.

Meanwhile, in a dramatic twist of events, the Malawi government says it has approved and will fund Malawi’s participation at this year’s Cecafa senior challenge cup slated for Tanzania from November 25.

The Warriors of Zimbabwe had been invited to fill the slot and were yet to decide on participation which could have aided their preparations for the 2013 Afcon and 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Over the weekend, the National Sports Council recommended to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to reconsider participation because of the limited time available to prepare and seek approval following Cecafa’s late invitation.

The council and FAM were of the view the resources for this competition be channelled to preparations for the 2013 Afcon qualifier and World Cup games next year.

But on Tuesday, Sports minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda told reporters Malawi would be part of the show this year and the government will shoulder part of the expenses believed to be around K8 million while Cecafa will also help on the other hand.

He also told parliament that President Bingu wa Mutharika approved that government should fund the Flames to travel to Tanzania.

“The government is aware that early next year Malawi meet Chad in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and it is necessary for the Flames to be active,” he said.

He said the Cecafa senior challenge cup is important for coach Kinnah Phiri to assess locally- based players ahead of the qualifiers.

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