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Sibanda, Chigova in fitness race


Warriors duo of goalkeeper George Chigova and midfielder Charles Sibanda are racing against time to be fit for the Cecafa Tusker Challenge Group A decisive match against hosts Tanzania on Saturday

The Warriors face the Kilimanjaro Stars at 5:00pm local time, in a match both teams need to win to proceed to the quarter-final round.

A win for the Norman Mapeza-coached side will see them joining Group A leaders Rwanda in the quarter-final draw while a loss will see Tanzania through.

Other group members Rwanda and Djibouti clash in a dead rubber contest today.

Team manager Wellington Mpandare on Thursday admitted the team will be under pressure to perform, but said his charges were capable of upsetting the hosts.

“The team had a whole day on Wednesday to rest and we are resuming our training this morning (yesterday),” said Mpandare.

“All players are looking good except for Chigova and Sibanda who picked some knocks from our last game. Chigova is complaining about his knee while Charles has an ankle problem.

“We will continue to monitor them. The injuries are not very serious so we hope they will be fit for the match. Besides the two, we expect all other players to train today (yesterday),” said Mpandare.

He added: “We still have a good chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. All we need is to get a result on Saturday (tomorrow).

“We brought a developmental side and save for a few players, the rest are making their debuts for the senior national team.

“But still I have faith in the team. They are good enough to see us through.

“A draw will also do us good, but that will depend on results from other groups. We have told ourselves not to rely on other results, so we will go out there looking for maximum points to make sure.”

Mpandare said he was happy with the moral support the team was getting from Zimbabweans living in Tanzania. He said one of the Zimbabweans, Washington Izhimairi, donated $800 to the team on Thursday.

A draw will leave the two teams with an outside chance of qualifying to the next round using the two slots reserved for best runners-up, depending on results from the other two groups.

Zimbabwe are third in their group with three points, the same number of points as second-placed Tanzania who enjoy a healthy +2 goal advantage.

Today: Rwanda v Djibouti (Group A), Ethiopia v Malawi (Group C) Tomorrow: Zimbabwe v Tanzania (Group A), Kenya v Sudan (Group C)

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