Ronnie relishes Salah challenge

WARRIORS left back Ronald Pfumbidzai has revealed that he will be looking to use the big stage at the 2019 African Cup of Nations finals to showcase his talents and hopefully secure a new deal with another club.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

He will face off some of the big names in world football, who include Egypt’s Mohammed Salah.

While the prospects of facing Salah, a global superstar, is seen as a big challenge, Pfumbidzai sees it as a big chance to show the world that he is capable of doing a good job of pinning down the Liverpool star.

With Zimbabwean fans fretting over the prospects of facing the Liverpool hitman, who has won the Premier League Golden Boot twice in as many years, Ronnie, as Pfumbidzai is affectionately known, is looking forward to subduing Salah on the big stage.

The Warriors were drawn in the same group with Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

Sunday Chidzambga’s men will get their 2019 African Cup of Nations campaign underway with a date against the hosts, Egypt, on June 21 — a match which billions of people across the world will be watching.

And Pfumbidzai, who will be playing for the first time at the biennial soccer tournament, wants to use Salah’s spotlight to his own advantage.

“I am really excited to be going to the African Cup of Nations tournament. It will be my first time to play at the tournament and am looking forward to be there,” he said.

“I take it as an opportunity to showcase my talents so that I can secure a new club abroad. It’s a good chance for me. It’s not about me marking Salah or whoever, we play as a team, but I am not scared of anyone. As someone who grew up in the ghetto, I am not afraid to face anyone.”

The former Caps United left back is remembered for having marked out DR Congo winger Yannick Bolasie during the Afcon qualifiers at the National Sports Stadium in Harare and away from home.

“Facing Salah is actually an opportunity rather than a challenge to show what I can do and am ready to face him and any other star,” added Ronnie, who plays for financially-struggling South African Premiership side Bloemfontein Celtic, whose future remains uncertain.

The club’s boss, Max Tshabalala, has conceded that they are experiencing cashflow problems, with players having to wait for signing-on fees as he looks for suitable buyers.

However, Pfumbidzai said the club’s financial problems had not affected him, as he has been getting his salary regularly and is looking to put up his best performance at the tournament.

The Warriors, who are making their fourth appearance at the tournament, have never qualified for the quarter-finals and the combative defender believes they have a balanced squad with a mixture of youth and experience to go far.
“I think we have a great group of players with a mixture of experience and young players. We have great potential to go beyond the group stage. There’s lots of confidence,” he said.

The Warriors are set to play at the regional Cosafa tournament in South Africa, which forms part of their preparations for the Egypt tournament.

They are also set to play an international friendly against Nigeria on June 8.

They will travel to Egypt after the Nigeria match and will spend at least 10 days in the host country preparing for the opener against the Pharaohs, who named a strong 25-man provisional squad on Tuesday.

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