BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
WARRIORS coach Sunday Chidzambga is determined to make history by leading Zimbabwe to the quarter-final stage of the African Cup of Nations (Afcon)as well as defending the regional Cosafa Castle Cup tournament.
Chidzambga holds a record of being the first coach to take Zimbabwe to the continental soccer showpiece when he qualified them to Tunisia in 2004.
He, however, could not go beyond the group stage bowing out in the first round.
Despite the Warriors qualifying for the tournament two years later in Egypt under Charles Mhlauri — a quarter-final place proved too big a hurdle.
The last eight stage of Africa’s premier tournament also proved stubbornly elusive when Kalisto Pasuwa took them to Gabon two years ago.
Chidzambga, however, believes that after three years of participation at the tournament, he can lead the current crop to a historic quarter- final place.
The veteran coach, who has had good fortune in the Cosafa tournament having won it three times, also said he wanted to land the trophy for the fourth time this campaign.
The Warriors are the defending champions at the regional tournament.
“We are taking both the African Cup of Nations and the Cosafa tournament seriously. Zimbabwe has not gone beyond the group stage of the African Cup of Nations and I would love to ensure they get past the group stage and reach at least the quarter finals. I have won the Cosafa trophy a number of times, but every coach would love to play and reach the final in every tournament and I still want to win the Cosafa Cup,” Chidzambga said.
While the veteran coach has not publicly stated that he wants to reach the knock-out stage, his close friends told NewsDaySport that the veteran coach has big ambitions.
One of his close associates said Chidzambga wants to be the surprise package at the tournament, and is aiming to reach the finals, and even going on to win the tournament.
Chidzambga started welcoming his players into camp this week, with almost all the South African-based stars already in Harare.
Some key players, including skipper Knowledge Musona, are still at their respective bases and are expected to link up with the rest of the team in South Africa next week.
Tendai Darikwa and Admiral Muskwe are expected today, while returning Nyasha Mushekwi will meet with the squad in Nigeria where the team will play an Afcon warm-up match before connecting to Egypt.
“Zifa allowed us 33 players and I think we have enough arsenal to compete at the Cosafa tournament and the international friendly against Nigeria which they arranged for us. Today, we are just loosening up since most of the players have been travelling for the past two days. We are also doing some fitness tests to ensure those that we carry to the tournament are fit and then we start proper preparations tomorrow (today),” he said.
The Warriors are expected to play two games at the Cosafa tournament after which 18 players will leave for Lagos for the friendly on June 8, while the rest remain at the Cosafa tournament.
Zimbabwe were drawn in the same group with hosts Egypt, the Democratic Republic of
Congo and Uganda. They get their campaign rolling with a clash against the hosts on June 21.