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Warriors ready for Cranes

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The Warriors will be looking to make an improvement from their last showing at the Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup when they engage an impressive Uganda in the quarter-finals of the competition in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, tomorrow afternoon.

The Warriors qualified for the quarters after overcoming hosts Tanzania 2-1 on Saturday.

Donald Ngoma’s second-minute goal — his second of the tournament — and an own goal by a Tanzanian defender moments later, helped Zimbabwe into the last eight.

The squad was hit by injuries to key men Charles Sibanda and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda. Coach Norman Mapeza was forced to replace Sibanda with George Chigova.

Highlanders shot-stopper Sibanda — who had been selected in the probable line-up — is struggling with an ankle injury. Mapeza will be hoping the agile goalie gets fit for the Uganda match, as he is the only cover for Chigova after the embarrassing dismissal of Tapiwa Mafunga.
However, Mapeza’s men managed to shake off those challenges to prevail over the hosts.
There is no doubt the team will be looking for similar inspiration when they clash with Uganda, who have been impressive in the tournament so far. The Cranes eased to the quarter- final stage after winning their first two group matches, beating Zanzibar and Somalia. And by the time they lost narrowly to Group B log leaders Burundi in the last match of their group, they had already been assured of a quarter-final berth.
The Warriors will have to be at their best to overcome the Ugandans and in the process improve from their last showing at the games.
Mapeza has urged his troops to improve on ball possession if they are to overcome Uganda.
“We need to work harder at regaining ball possession because our reaction when we lose the ball is not good. We need to improve on that,” Mapeza was yesterday quoted by the media.
Zimbabwe last featured in the 2009 edition of the competition in Kenya where they failed at the quarter-final stage. They were beaten 1-0 by eventual runners-up Rwanda. The Cranes have met Zimbabwe 11 times, winning just one, drawing six and losing four.
Meanwhile, the Young Warriors face Angola at 3pm today in their second match of the Cosafa Under-20 Metropolitan Championships in Molepolole.
They drew 1-1 against Namibia in the opening match on Friday night. Roy Mwenga scored for Taurai Mangwiro’s charges.
Quarter-finals:
Today
Burundi v Sudan (2pm)
Rwanda v Zanzibar (4pm)
Tuesday
Uganda v Zimbabwe (2pm)
Malawi v Tanzania (4pm)

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