Former national team players from the City of Kings are rallying behind the Warriors as they step into their first game in the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Guinea at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
Head coach Rahman Gumbo’s men face Guinea before heading for Mozambique next week for their second game in the group that also features giants Egypt.
Former Highlanders, Warriors and international striker Adam “Adamski” Ndlovu, who now heads the Chicken Inn coaching department, said although the Benjani Mwaruwari Testimonial match last Saturday was just an exhibition match, the Warriors looked sharp and they should use home advantage.
“We need to utilise our home advantage. The boys looked sharp when I watched them play on Saturday and the inclusion of the once suspended players is a bonus. I don’t see any problem winning Sunday’s (tomorrow) match if they play as a team.
“The first games are very important and I don’t have any doubt that we will win this one. They need to forget their differences and be united and know what is at stake. They will definitely win this one but I do not want to make any predictions,” Ndlovu said.
Agent “Ajira” Sawu, who played alongside Adamski in the late Reinhard Fabisch-coached charismatic “Dream Team” of the late 1990s, echoed Ndlovu’s sentiments.
“Our chances are very high, especially taking into account that we are playing at home. We have to capitalise on home advantage. We have most of our boys playing outside the country in competitive leagues who can carry the day for Zimbabwe,” Sawu, who had a brief spell as assistant coach at former club Zimbabwe Saints last year, said.
Ephraim “Rock of Gibraltar” Chawanda of the “Dream Team” era was also optimistic and said the football administrators in the country must give full support to the boys for the success of the team.
“They have every chance of beating Guinea and even qualifying. There is no room for the administrators to fail to provide for the boys. If the boys give it all just what like I saw last Saturday at the National Sports Stadium, then we stand a good chance. I saw brilliant flashes in (Khama) Billiat and (Knowledge) Musona, whom I used to watch in South Africa. I think we have a crop of good players,” Chawanda said.
Willard “Mashinkila” Khumalo, another former Warriors player, although a bit skeptical, rallied behind the national team and said they should not be complacent as football is changing every day and there is no longer any small team in Africa.
“Football is dynamic and has changed a lot. There is no small team in Africa. We might have our ups and downs and I think lack of continuity in the team might disturb our game. I think we need to have continuity and have substantive coaches, who watch our boys both local and internationally.
“I also think that we should have more time for the boys to gel. Some of the guys are coming for the first time and I think we have to work on that. But to the boys, what I can say is when you put on that shirt, know that there are millions of people behind you and you must carry the nation forward. I am not good at making predictions but I am sure we will come out with positive results on Sunday. I wish the boys all the best of luck,” Mashinkila-Khumalo said.