BY TERRY MADYAUTA IN JOHANNESSBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
FC PLATINUM goalkeeper Petros Mhari says he is excited by the chance to be part of the Warriors in the crunch Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Congo Brazzaville on March 24.
Mhari, together with his teammate Godknows Murwira, were drafted in Sunday Chidzambga’s 28-man provisional squad announced early this week for the make-or-break match, where Zimbabwe needs at least a point to qualify for the Afcon finals.
The 31-year-old and 2016 goalkeeper of the year had been overlooked for national duty in recent times despite good displays for FC Platinum, where he is also the skipper of the team.
The steady goalie has had some impressive performances in the team’s Caf Champions League, and his brilliance had been overshadowed by his on-field peers who are struggling to score goals in the campaign.
Speaking to the NewsDay Sport in Johannesburg, South Africa, ahead of the team’s Caf Champions’ League group B encounter against Orlando Pirates, Mhari described his return to the Warriors fold as a dream come true.
Mhari was previously called to the national team by his current club coach Norman Mapeza.
“I am very happy for being recognised as a player and I hope this will also be another fruitful year for me. It’s every player’s wish to be given a chance to play for his country. I have been called up once and it was a good experience. Right now, the team is in need of a win to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. Therefore, I hope my contribution will be key in helping the team achieve this goal for the love of our country and the game,” he said.
Mhari will be fighting for the number one spot in the team with George Chigova and Edmore Sibanda.
“With the calibre of players that have been playing for the Warriors, I think nothing can stop us from qualifying for this tournament. My team has always been with me throughout this journey, and being selected comes as a group achievement. However I want to thank the coaches for selecting me and I hope to deliver the best for the country,” he said.
Turning to their clash against Orlando Pirates on Friday, Mhari vowed that while his team is out of contention for the ticket to the quarter-finals, they won’t donate points to the South African giants who desperately need to win to salvage their chances of proceeding to the knockout stage.
FC Platinum are yet to score a goal in the group stages, and Mhari sees this game as a chance to redeem themselves.
“We won’t go down without a fight. We need to at least win this game for our pride. We have been working very hard and I believe we are going to start yielding results soon,” he said.