WARRIORS coach Ian Gorowa says there is no excuse for failure when his side host Zambia in the African Nations Championships (Chan) final round first leg at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA
Zambia have already beaten the Warriors twice this year, including a 2-0 hiding in the Cosafa Castle Cup final on July 20, but Gorowa said his team has learnt their lesson and are ready to turn the tables against the former African champions.
Chipolopolo, without their talisman Mukuka Mulenga, who is out injured, are expected in the country today and their government has provided a number of buses for their supporters for this match.
Speaking after an intensive training session at Gwanzura Stadium yesterday, Gorowa declared his team was ready for the battle.
“Obviously I would have wanted more time to prepare but it’s not an excuse. We had one week before going to Mauritius, we had another four days in Mauritius and we have this whole week to try and work on our weaknesses and our strength,” said Gorowa.
The former Dynamos and Rhinos striker challenged his troops to shine, revealing that those who will do well will make it into the squad for the Afcon 2015 qualifiers.
“Our immediate task is to qualify for Chan, but while we play in Chan it’s also part of the preparations towards the 2015 Afcon. That is why I’m saying its very key for us to play at the Chan because we are going to use it as preparations for the bigger tournaments, so it’s very important that we utilise the opportunity to qualify for Chan.
“If you look at the Nigerian team, probably half or three quarters of their squad play in Nigeria and when they come to Chan they bring their whole squad, so we also want to do that and try to build the best team with our locally-based players,” said Gorowa.
He noted that Zimbabwe’s main downfall in their defeat to Zambia in the Cosafa was failing to deal with set-pieces in the box. Against Mauritius at home, Gorowa said his team failed to utilise the numerous chances they created. All that has been sorted out and Gorowa now expects a perfect performance from his side.
“We know what Zambia does when attacking set-pieces. They always put a man in front of the opposition goalkeeper so we have spoken about that and everybody is aware of it.”
“The whole week we have been doing finishing, trying to put the ball into the nets because sometimes I think the players lack that confidence to put the ball into the back of the net. We were creating chances and we were not utilising them, so this was what we were doing at training. It was good that we played a 1-all draw against Mauritius although obviously we wanted to win, but I think the players now realise there is no easy game and worse we are playing Zambia.”
But in all his show of confidence ahead of the Sunday match, Gorowa still admits that Zambia pose the greatest challenge in his team’s quest to qualify for the finals.
“It will not be an easy game for both teams so we have to use our home advantage. We have prepared a big fight for them and we expect to do well and win the match. I spoke to the players about Zambia, but I didn’t want to highlight the fact they have been beating us for sometime because if you remind them it’s not a good thing.
“I told them that we are playing at home and we just have to win the match. Also the incentive on the part of the players is to play in the Chan and I think that’s very important for the players to play in that tournament so they are highly motivated to beat Chipolopolo. Zambia also doesn’t play well away from home just like any other team, so we have to utilise home advantage.”
The Warriors coach said he would welcome any positive scoreline on Sunday before the decisive return leg in Ndola on August 24.
“The ideal scoreline is for us to win. Any score to win will be good for us,” said Gorowa.