VETERAN Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Esrom Nyandoro will again be handed the armband to lead the Warriors when they play against Angola in a decisive 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) second leg qualifier in Luanda on Sunday.
Report by Tawanda Tafirenyika Sports Correspondent
With skipper Tapiwa Kapini ruled out of the match due to injury, his deputy Nyandoro — who joined camp yesterday — will naturally take over the armband as Zimbabwe bids to qualify for the continent’s biggest soccer showcase.
The former AmaZulu anchorman took over the captain’s armband during the 3-1 home win at Rufaro after Kapini had been stretchered off with an injury.
Rahman Gumbo’s men are within shouting distance to join the big boys at the soccer jamboree to be hosted by South Africa in January next year.
The Warriors carry a good lead after posting a 3-1 victory over the 2006 World Cup finalists Angola in the first leg in Harare on September 9.
Ajax Cape Town forward Khama Billiart and Kalmar FF midfielder Archford Gutu were on target for Zimbabwe with an Angolan defender weighing in with an own goal.
Nyandoro (32), is carrying the huge responsibility of a success-starved nation which has been reduced to armchair viewers of the African game after missing the boat in the past three editions of the tournament since their last participation at the 2006 finals in Egypt.
Zimbabwe made their maiden appearance at Afcon finals in Tunisia in 2004 under coach Sunday Chidzambwa before taking part in Egypt two years later under Charles Mhlauri, who had taken over the baton in a campaign started by Gumbo.
Legendary Zimbabwean footballer Peter Ndlovu, now Warriors assistant coach, was the captain on both occasions should the Warriors secure a ticket to South Africa, Nyandoro will become the second player to captain Zimbabwe to the biennial soccer showcase.
Gumbo has converted Nyandoro from amid fielder into a central defender, a move which appears to be working as the Sundowns man has provided the stability which has been lacking on the Warriors backline.
The experienced midfielder is also being used in the same position in some of the matches for his struggling South African side.
Former Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari, who has since retired from international football, failed to steer the national team to the Afcon finals after taking over from Ndlovu in 2006.