Senegal coach, Aliou Cisse will leave nothing to chance, when he prepares his team for their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group B football clash against Zimbabwe on Thursday after watching the Warriors run Algeria to the end in an exciting 2-all draw, which Kalisto Pasuwa’s men could have won.
BY Kevin Mapasure in Franceville, Gabon
Soon after the Warriors-Algeria match, Cisse presided over a hard-fought 2-0 win by the Lions of Teranga over Tunisia and now turns his sights on the next challenge against Zimbabwe.
Cisse said in the match against Algeria, Zimbabwe reinforced his view of the Warriors, whom he said were a team just as dangerous as any in the group.
“I said before the start of the tournament that there is no small team at this level,” he said.
“Once you get to this level, then you cannot be viewed as a small team. Against Algeria, Zimbabwe showed how good they are and we will not take them for granted.”
He said Zimbabwe’s strength was in their cohesion and he was expecting a difficult match against Pasuwa’s charges.
“Zimbabwe players have played together a lot. They understand each other very well such that the match against them will be a very difficult one. From what we have seen so far, I think it points to an interesting match between Senegal and Zimbabwe. We are not under-estimating them, we have to prepare the way we prepared for the Tunisia match.”
Zimbabwe arrived at this tournament, as the group underdogs, but after giving Algeria a good run on Sunday, the general sentiment towards them has shifted.
The Warriors could and should have won the match had it not been for two costly mistakes.
Striker, Cuthbert Malajila failed to bury a one-on-one situation with the Algeria goalkeeper, Rais Mbholi, with nine minutes to go, or better still he could have lined up Kuda Mahachi, a chance which if it had been converted would have thrust them 3-1 up.
Mbolhi made a save and seconds later Algeria were celebrating after Leicester star, Riyad Mahrez breached Zimbabwe’s defence to complete his brace.
It was a ball that goalkeeper, Tatenda Mukuruva should have kept out and he knows he could have done better. Pasuwa said his team need to improve on chance conversion and also at the back, when they face their next challenge.
While Pasuwa will go back to dwell on the mistakes from the last match, Cisse will be looking to find ways to nullify Zimbabwe’s threat, especially the duo of Mahachi and Khama Billiat, who were a handful against Algeria.