THE Warriors face the biggest test of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier when they clash with Demoratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in back to back matches that will be played early next month.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Zimbabwe picked up a precious point when they played out a draw against Congo Brazaville on Sunday evening while DRC needed a late equaliser to rescue a point against Liberia.
The results left log leaders Zimbabwe and DRC, who both have four points, still carrying an advantage over the other two teams even though the Group is still open.
Having sat at the top of the log from the first round of matches, the biggest test comes when the Warriors travel to Kinshasa for the first match that will be played on October 10 before they host DRC on October 13 in Harare.
Zimbabwe will be looking to avoid defeat away from home and try to clinch all three points when they play at home.
Coach Sunday Chidzambga said before the Congo match that a point away from home is a good result.
Captain Knowledge Musona said he was disappointed that they did not get maximum points, but said a point away from home was still a good result. “It’s a little disappointing that we drew, but a point is not bad playing away from home. We all know that we can do better. Well done guys I’m really proud of you,” he said in a tweet after the match.
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Zimbabwe and DRC last played each other in 2000 and 2001 where each won their home game in Afcon qualifiers.
Chidzambga will be hoping that by the time they play DRC a number of injured players would have recovered.
The Warriors missed strikers Nyasha Mushekwi, Tino Kadewere and Ovidy Karuru while midfielder Marvelous Nakamba and defender Costa Nhamoinesu who are both based in Europe also failed to make it due to injuries.
On the other hand the coach had also called in the pair of Tendayi Darikwa and Adam Chicksen but the two failed to secure Zimbabwean passports on time.
They also had a half-fit Khama Billiat, who went on to score the important goal that clinched the single point.
Billiat had been struggling with a hamstring injury.
Despite all these problems, Zimbabwe still managed a draw in a match they probably should have won.
Importantly, everything is still in their own hands and they know that if they can collect four points against DRC, they will be closer to qualifying for the finals that will be hosted by Cameroon.