This weekend sees Zimbabwe’s Warriors engage in a final push to reach only their third appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations Football finals (Afcon) as they engage Angola in the decisive second leg match in Luanda on Sunday.
No doubt a lot of effort has been put in place by Zifa, the technical team and the Mzansi90 fundraising committee to ensure plain sailing for the Warriors to avoid distractions from the ultimate job in Luanda.
Incentives for the players are there, a chartered flight has been put in place and more than 50 fans are expected to be part of the contingent to cheer on the Warriors. The technical team, which had a meeting yesterday morning before their first training session, can only do so much in terms of selecting the best 11 players to field on the day and the rest is up to the players to perform.
Playing in the Afcon finals will open avenues for most of these younger players in the team like Knowledge Musona, Ovidy Karuru, if he finally joins the team next year, Onisimor Bhasera and Carlington Nyadombo to catch the attention of the European scouts who will be down south in January.
There is no doubt Zimbabwe will command a huge following in Mzansi if we qualify and it will be like playing at home. So we appeal to the players to focus and adopt a positive approach to this game. There is no need to focus on the coach; we believe Rahman Gumbo and his team will select the best to do duty and the rest will follow.
Just look at the Angola approach. Some of players who have been called up arrived last Friday as they were not part of their respective clubs’ weekend league matches. This ensures that the coach can start training his charges on the first day of camp.
Brazilian Geraldo, who plays for Parana in his native home, arrived well ahead of everybody while Manucho and Mateus were already in Luanda yesterday morning from Spain and Portugal respectively.
At least Musona, who missed the 3-1 first leg win in Harare, has already shown his hunger to make up for that by being an early bird. We demand more of the same from the rest of the players, because they are going into a war zone. We know players come from different bases, but this time around commitments have to come from the heart because, at this stage, we need that more than anything else.
Lest we forget, the Under 17s will also be in action on Sunday when they host Congo-Brazzaville in the second round of the Youth Championships. For those who will be in Harare on Sunday, let us go and support the boys – we will keep you posted.
After overcoming a road trip to Mozambique to win and beating Zambia 2-1 over the weekend, in a preparatory match, we are confident the boys will do us proud at Rufaro and need all the support they can get. Murowa Diamonds have already given them $10 000 while Star Trek Transport has been doing the feeding.
Let us all unite and make Sunday a victorious day for Zimbabwe.