Warriors in fine form


Warriors goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini and defender Vusa Nyoni were in fine form over the weekend for their respective clubs ahead of Wednesdays 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Burundi.

Kapini kept goal for AmaZulu when they stunned former champions SuperSport United 1-0 in Atteridgeville on Saturday evening.

He linked up with the Warriors at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday morning for the trip to Bujumbura.

He was expected to be joined by Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Esrom Nyandoro and Kaizer Chiefs veteran Tinashe Nengomasha, while Platinum Stars Terrence Mandaza would fly off this morning after yesterdays match against Bloemfontein Celtic.

Nyoni chipped in with an assist for scorer Sherjill MacDonald in the 25th minute as their Belgian top-flight side Germinal Beerschot beat OH Leuven 2-1 in a league match on Saturday night.

Nyoni, together with Knowledge Musona of Hoffeinheim in Germany and Noel Kaseke of AC Omonia in Cyprus are also expected to land in Bujumbura today. The former Highlanders right-back came in as a substitute in the 75th minute for Bruce Aguiar as their team Omonia romped 5-2 past Apollon.

Other Warriors players in action over the weekend included Nengomasha, who played the full game in Chiefs 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits, while Nyandoro was an unused substitute in the 2-2 draw against Moroka Swallows on Friday night.

Musona was not on the final 18 as Hoffeinheim, under new coach Markus Babbel, beat Wolfsburg 2-1 away, but that should not worry interim coach Rahman Gumbo as the former Kaizer Chiefs man has scored in all games he has played for the Warriors.

He remains the major trump card for Gumbos second dance with the Warriors and leads a cast of five strikers named in the squad. Russia-based Musa Mguni makes a return to the Warriors after last featuring in the 2-0 win over Rwanda in Kigali in 2004 under the same coach.

New Chiefs signing Brian Abbas Amidu has the biggest chance to make an immediate impact in national colours together with gangly BMC of Botswana striker Mandla Sibanda. He is one of two players from the Botswana be Mobile league with defender Arnold Chaka in the team.

Chaka owes his place in the team to the absence of Dickson Choto, who could not make it for the trip but that aside it shows the development of the league in the last few years of football in Botswana.
While the starting XI cannot be certain at this stage, Kapini is likely to get the nod ahead of Jani due to his international experience and the fact he might be handed the captains armband for the match.

Tapiwa Khumbuyani will take the right-back while Bhasera is expected to take over from Nyoni on the left wing-back position with the former AmaZulu and Highlanders man pushed to left attacking link.

Nengomasha and Nyandoro will play double anchor although the Chiefs man could be in a more advanced role with Archford Gutu roaming from the right. Mguni and Musona will take the two slots in attack.

Little is available on Burundi, who have never qualified for the Afcon finals and the World Cup, but playing at home gives them a psychological advantage.Their best known player is Valery Nahayo, formerly of Chiefs, but now playing in Belgium.

Nicknamed Les Hirondelles or The Swallows, Burundis senior national football team, which is ranked 39th on the continent and 141 in the world, has never qualified for either the Fifa World Cup of the Caf Afcon.

From 1930 to 1990 they did not enter the qualification competition, with their first attempt coming in 1994.
In 1998 and 2002 they withdrew and in qualification for the last two World Cups they have not made the grade.

They play their home games at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura, with the venue named after the countrys former prime minister and independence hero.

Goalkeepers: Tapuwa Kapini, Marlon Jani
Defenders: Tapiwa Khumbuyani, Arnold Chaka, Godfrey Moyo, Vusa Nyoni, Noel Kaseke, Onisimor Bhasera
Midfielders: Tinashe Nengomasha, Esrom Nyandoro, Denver Mukamba, Archford Gutu, Charles Sibanda
Strikers: Knowledge Musona, Musa Mguni, Terrence Mandaza, Mandla Sibanda, Brian Abbas Amidu.