HIGHLANDERS midfielder Peter “Rio” Moyo has said he is excited to make the Warriors final squad for the African Nations Championships (Chan) that kicks off next Saturday in South Africa, adding that the selected squad has the potential to surpass their predecessors efforts.
HENRY MHARA,SPORTS REPORTER
Zimbabwe previously qualified for the inaugural tournament in Ivory Coast in 2009 under Sunday Chidzambwa before the 2011 edition under Madinda Ndlovu in Sudan, failing to make the knockout stages on both occasions.
Now under Ian Gorowa, Moyo, who is arguably one of the stars of this team, believes the selected players have what it takes to reach the final.
“Personally, I’m very excited to make it into the final 23,” said Moyo, whose contract with Bosso expired on December 31 and is expected to be renewed on his return.
The team, which is expected to leave for Johannesburg on Monday, regrouped in the capital yesterday after a brief break for the New Year’s holidays.
“All the players that were called into camp are good and deserved to go to South Africa, but only 23 had to go and I’m happy that the coach chose me. It shows that I am doing well at club level and for the national team.
“I will do my best to help the team win. Our wish is to see the team making it to the final and probably win the tournament. We have the quality to do that and we have the motivation to play at this tournament. This is our chance to shine and attract potential suitors from abroad,” Moyo added.
The Warriors are in Group B where they will square off with Morocco, Burkina Faso and Uganda for a place in the next round.
“It’s a tough group, but we expected it because all the teams are strong. We will try to make our own history by qualifying for the knockout stages and we will take it from there. It would be tough, no doubt about that; but if we can make it past the group stages, then we will go all the way,” Moyo said.
Zimbabwe is scheduled to play Gabon in an international friendly on Tuesday at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg before proceeding to Cape Town where they will be based.
A friendly match against Ajax Cape Town is being organised.
Moyo’s talents are unquestionable as he has been the revelation for both Highlanders and for the Warriors, but critics have questioned his physical condition.
“I think I am in good condition and at times I get pulled off because the coach would be changing the tactics. I’m more effective when attacking, but sometimes the team would be under pressure and the coach would be looking for a player who can win back possession and I am not very good at that. But of course I am working on that,” Moyo said.
While Moyo decided to treat Zimbabwe’s three opponents on the group stage on an equal level, there is no doubt that Morocco remains the biggest threat to the Warriors cause.
Media reports this week suggested that the Atlas Lions of Morocco have named seven players from the squad that lost to European Champions Bayern Munich in the final of the Fifa Club World Cup recently.
Stars such as Raja Casablanca goalkeeper Khalid Askri, Zakaria el Hachimi, Adil Karrouchy, Issam Erraki, Abdelilah Hafidi, Mohsine Moutaouali and Mouhssine Lajour, are part of the Morocco squad expected in South Africa this week.
The Cranes of Uganda, who beat Mauritania 3-0 on Thursday, will be making their second appearance at the Chan finals after their debut appearance in Khartoum ended in the preliminary round, while Burkina Faso will be gracing the tournament for the first time.
The Stallions will be returning to the scene of their memorable showing at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations where they finished as runners-up to Nigeria and will be hoping to replicate the same performance.