Warriors coach, Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambga is a very happy man following his team’s goalless draw against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in an international friendly match at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Saturday.
BY Kevin Mapasure
Chidzambga admitted that he had learnt a lot from the match ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals. The Warriors gets the tournament rolling with the game against the hosts on Friday.
Mhofu gave hints on how he wants to shape is starting lineup and after creating some good chances, the Warriors impressed their supporters with the draw in a match that could have gone either way.
The friendly was marred by unrelenting showers that pounded throughout the entire 90 minutes, but both teams would have been pleased with the run out.
After avoiding defeat against the former African champions, Chidzambga told the media that he was very pleased with both the performance and the outcome.
“I am very proud of my boys because they played to my instruction,” Chidzambga told reporters in Asaba during a post-match interview.
“You don’t stop a good team like Nigeria from scoring if you are not good yourself. This shows that we are going to the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt with high hopes and expectations.”
Before making their fourth Afcon appearance in Egypt, Zimbabwe have one more friendly match against the Tanzania on June 16.
Zimbabwe are in Group A of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals where they will also play Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo.
“Super Eagles are a strong team, not only in Africa, but the world,” Chidzambga said.
“And it is always important to play such teams going into a big tournament like the Nations Cup.
“They have won the Nations Cup many (three) times and it is important we use this game to learn from them.”
He admitted his side are going into their fourth Afcon finals as underdogs, but refused to set a particular target.
“I don’t believe in setting targets. What if you target a quarter-final and you (eventually) go ahead to win the cup?” Chidzambga asked rhetorically.
After the Nigeria match he said he is looking forward to leading his team through to the knockout stages.
“On our part we will try to get past the group stages. Ever since we started this Afcon campaign we haven’t gone past the group stages, but we are going to try to get past the group stages.
“I think the Super Eagles are in an easier group, they are seeded too and with their play they will be able to go past the group stages.”
Chidzambwa shared three lessons he learned from the Super Eagles in their goalless draw against the Warriors.
“I have learnt a lot of things from the Super Eagles, the best thing I learned was the way they support the ball carrier and the way they fall behind the ball, keeping possession. They were very good, I learnt something.”
Zimbabwe 2019 Afcon squad:
Goalkeepers: George Chigova, Edmore Sibanda, Elvis Chipezeze.
Defenders: Tendayi Darikwa, Jimmy Dzingai, Divine Lunga, Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu, Ronald Pfumbidzai.
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi, Marvelous Nakamba, Danny Phiri, Ovidy Karuru, Kuda Mahachi, Talent Chawapihwa, Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Thabani Kamusoko.
Strikers: Nyasha Mushekwi, Tino Kadewere, Evans Rusike, Knox Mutizwa.