HISTORY is weighing heavily against Mauritius as they host Zimbabwe’s Warriors in an African Nations Championship qualifier on Sunday.
REPORT BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The two teams have met six times since independence with the Warriors winning five of those encounters while Mauritius managed one win-quite intimidating statistics.
Mauritius though won the first encounter on 29 August 1982 following a 2-0 victory in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean games. But seven years later, Zimbabwe emerged triumphant in a 4-1 rout in an African Cup of Nations qualifier on April 1989. They followed that up with a 1-0 win on April 23 the same year in the second leg of the African Cup of Nations qualifier. Zimbabwe overcame the Indian Ocean Island side again 1-0 in their own backyard on August 30 1992. The following year in July Zimbabwe won 2-0 in Harare. They last met in 2009 with the Warriors emerging triumphant again following a 3-0 victory.
New Warriors coach Ian Gorowa is confident his charges will advance to the next round of the Chan qualifiers to be held in South Africa next year in January.
The Warriors left for Mauritius on Thursday morning via Johannesburg, South Africa, and were expected in Mauritius last night.
Gorowa, who will be in charge for the first time after he was installed as the Warriors coach as replacement for Germany coach Klaus Dieter Pagels, who left to take up a new job as a sports teacher in his home town of Stade, said although he had respect for their opponents, he did not expect much of an opposition from Mauritius.
Mauritius were in the same group with Seychelles and Namibia during the Cosafa Cup, with Namibia’s Brave Warriors emerging top in that group.
“I watched the DVDs and also got some information from reports done by the technical committee at the Cosafa. I have got more or less of what to expect from Mauritius.
“They use a 4-1-4-1 system which they later changed and used three attackers. They are quick going forward. They have got a left-footed midfielder who is their best player. But with all due respect we don’t expect much of an opposition from Mauritius.
“They can be difficult, but the good thing is we are playing away in the first leg and we can afford to risk and we can always make some adjustments when we play them here,” said Gorowa.
The Warriors coach said he would improve on what has been done by his predecessor Pagels.
“Every coach has his own ways of doing things. Football is a game of opinions. The tiki-taka football is good, but as a national team coach you are judged by results. At the Cosafa tournament in Zambia, Zimbabwe played well, but l have my own opinion and reservations on the way football should be played and will always try and improve,” Gorowa added.
The former Warriors forward has made some changes to the squad that lost to Zambia in the final of the Cosafa Cup following injuries to some players. Dynamos defender Ocean Mushure and Monomotapa star midfielder Ronald Chitiyo were dropped from the team because of injuries, while Chicken Inn striker Tendai Ndoro, scorer of a double against Lesotho in Zambia, has also been ruled as he attends trials with Bidvest Wits in South Africa.
But, Gorowa has responded by calling up talented Dynamos midfielder Tawanda Muparati with Augustine Mbara also finding his way back into the team as a replacement for Mushure. Fellow team mate Partson Jaure is also in the team.
Caps United striker Dominic Chungwa, Shabanie Mine’s Nelson Maziwisa and Highlanders midfielder Milton Ncube also received call ups.