Hungry Zim Warriors seek win

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CAPE TOWN — After getting a point from Morocco in their opening African Nations Championships (Chan) match last Sunday, the Warriors are back at Athlone Stadium this afternoon against Uganda, seeking their first win.

SPORTS REPORTER/MTNFootball

Uganda are already on a high after dispatching Burkina Faso 2-1 in the opener and another win will see them through to the quarterfinals.

The Cranes lead Group B with three points, while Zimbabwe and Morocco, who drew 0-0, are tied on a point each.

The Warriors need to win or their intended target of reaching the quarterfinals for the first time in the history of the competition will be thrown into doubt.

The Warriors limped through the match against Morocco, missing gilt-edged chances through Donald Ngoma (twice), Simba Sithole and Ali Sadiki, but should be able to rebound from that nervous performance.

Not many changes are expected in the Zimbabwe team, although, admittedly, Zimbabwe’s best players — Hardlife Zvirekwi and Milton Ncube will be better off playing as attacking midfielders instead of wings backs.

Ian Gorowa, the Zimbabwe coach, thinks his team is now ready to play better football after drawing with the fancied Morocco in the opening game.

“It is good the boys have now cooled their nerves and now know that they cannot afford to suffer defeat in the second game if they hope to progress,” the former Ajax Cape Town assistant coach told MTN Football.

Warriors captain Partson Jaure, who warned Uganda Cranes early this week, said they will need to get early goals.

“We have not scored yet in this tournament and picking up an early goal will drive us even more,” said Jaure.

Uganda head coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic has, however, warned his players not to be too confident after they won the first game 2-1 against Burkina Faso.

“We need to play like we don’t even have a point yet, because every game is a final here,” Micho told MTNFootball.com in an interview.
“It will not be an easy game, but the team that will get certain small aspects right will carry the day. Zimbabwe is a good side and almost play the blend of football we play,” added the coach.

Two-goal hero against Burkina Faso, Junior Yunus Sentamu, has also promised to get more goals in the tournament.

“I am enjoying my first outing with the national team and I am eager to shine with more goals,” said the 19-year-old.

Uganda’s attack of Sentamu, Brian Majwega and veteran Vincent Kayizzi is not likely to change, although defender Savio Kabugo, who picked a knock in the first game, could need a fitness test.

In the second Group B match tonight, Morocco will be hoping to secure their first win of Chan when they meet Burkina Faso on match-day two at Athlone Stadium.

Kick-off will be at 2000hrs (CAT).

The Burkinabes enter their second match in the Mother City winless and fresh off a 2-1 defeat to a surprisingly impressive Ugandan side last Sunday evening.

Cryille Bayala’s goal two minutes from time merely proved to be a consolation strike after Yunus Sentamu put the central of Africans two-goal up after 77 minutes.

Their performance was a bit off the pace from the refreshing displays they displayed in last year’s African Cup of Nations in South Africa, but one that they will push to improve on.

Morocco conversely enters the fixture after having seen their debut in the tournament proper play out to a 0-0 draw against one of the competition favourites, Zimbabwe.

Hassan Benabicha stated in the midweek that his full intention for this tournament was to integrate several youngsters into the first team in hope of seeing them feature in next year’s African Cup of Nations.

However, he only featured two players born in the ‘90s, Walid El Karti and Anas Al Asahi, opting for a more experienced squad to come up against the seasoned campaigners of international tournaments.

A similar approach is expected to be utilised by the newly appointed coach today evening where he will hope that the Raja Casablanca players will up their game like they did in the Fifa Club World Cup.
A win will put Morocco right up for a spot in the final eight, while a defeat for Burkina Faso will mean elimination from the tournament.

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