Nigeria seek Warriors friendly

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THE Warriors’ remarkable performance in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying campaign, which ended with just one defeat to Guinea in Conakry last Sunday, has earned them the respect of some of the continent’s football powerhouses, with the Super Eagles of Nigeria requesting an international friendly against the Kalisto Pasuwa-coached team, as part of their 2018 World Cup preparations.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

KHAMA-BILLIAT

Quite rarely have Zimbabwe received offers from the continent’s big boys to play international friendly matches, but their almost faultless qualification for the Gabon Afcon finals next January, has made the traditional powerhouses take notice.

Zifa president, Philip Chiyangwa, who is using his influence as a member of one of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) committees, claims that teams are now jostling to play the Warriors.

The Super Eagles, African champions in 2013, have no interest in the Afcon finals after they were surprisingly booted out of next January is tournament.

But they could still make up for that disappointment by booking a place at the World Cup in Russia for 2018 and, according to Chiyangwa, had requested an international friendly against Zimbabwe in Nigeria during the just-ended international break, as part of their preparations for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers next month.

The match, however, failed to materialise as the cash-strapped Zifa wanted a commitment from Nigeria that they would come to Harare for reciprocal match, where Chiyangwa’s association would also benefit from gate-takings and pay the players.

Chiyangwa told NewsDay Sport yesterday that Nigeria had requested for the Warriors to make a stop-over in Lagos on their way from Guinea.

The Zifa boss said many African countries, including Ghana and Cameroon, were also keen to play the Warriors in international friendly matches.

He, however,said funding was their biggest challenge. Zifa is also struggling to secure corporate sponsorship to bankroll the team.
“The question of teams that we can play is not the issue really. There are so many teams that are willing to play us. Nigeria wanted us to pass through and play them soon after our match against Guinea,” Chiyangwa said.

“But, because we also need to pay players, I asked about when we were going to have the return match, but they could not clarify. We need a situation, where they would also come here for a return match, so that we will be able to pay players from gate-takings. But that match is still pending.”

The Zifa boss is expected to negotiate an international friendly with former African champions, Egypt when he leaves for the Caf annual general meeting in Cairo at the end of the month.

There are genuine fears, though, that the Warriors, who were kickek out of the 2018 Russia World Cup qualifiers, might not be able to prepare adequately for the Afcon, finals, as they might not be able to secure international friendlies with nearly all the teams committed to their World Cup qualifiers in the remaining two international breaks in October and November.

Kalisto Pasuwa’s men are among the lowest-ranked teams on the list of the qualified teams. They will be in Pot D when the draw, scheduled for October 19 in Gabon, is conducted, implying they could be drawn against the giants of African football.

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  2. “”””Kalisto Pasuwa’s men are among the lowest-ranked teams on the list of the qualified teams. They will be in Pot D when the draw, scheduled for October 19 in Gabon, is conducted, implying they could be drawn against the giants of African football.””””

    Nyanduri, its given we will certainly be drawn against the Giants of African Football, come what may, unless we decide to quit?????

  3. Since we are also going to Gabon we are also good enough, we did not get there by luck but through hard work and performance. Let hope the management can get their act together and find the resources to make this afcon tournament a success for Zimbabwe. #OurWarriors #OurZimbabwe

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