BY KEVIN MAPASURE
THE Warriors will test their ammunition by shooting at the Super Eagles of Nigeria as the two nations prepare for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers that will take place in Egypt from June 21.
Following the Cosafa Cup, where the players that will feature at the Afcon finals played two matches for Zimbabwe, the ultimate test will be against a star-studded Nigeria side that is looking to make an impact at the finals this time on, having missed out on the last edition that was staged in Gabon in 2017.
Zimbabwe are also billed to play another warm-up match against Tanzania, but whatever weaponry they will be looking to use against Egypt, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, they will want to test it today at the Stephen Keshi Stadium against the Super Eagles.
While a few players that will join the rest of the squad in Egypt stayed on in Durban, South Africa, for the third and fourth-place play-off against Lesotho played last night, Sunday Chidzambga took with him to Nigeria his big hitters.
Nyasha Mushekwi, who has not featured in Warriors colours since the Gabon finals two years ago, should be making his return in today’s
Zimbabwe rarely test themselves against some of the big names on the continent, but they have been afforded an opportunity to gauge themselves well ahead of the Afcon tournament opener against Egypt on June 21 in Cairo.
The Cosafa Cup semi-final clash against Zambia on Wednesday was useful in its own way as the need to sharpen the shooting skills was laid bare.
Tino Kadewere missed yet another good chance in the Warriors colours and doubts are growing over his pedigree.
The return of Mushekwi at the point of the attack should solve the goal-scoring problems.
But some watchers of the game have had their misgivings over the fitness of captain Knowledge Musona and here is an opportunity for the talisman to get more minutes under his belt.
Nigeria are looking to give a good run to those players that struggled for game time at their clubs and the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho are set for considerable time on the pitch.
Striker and captain Ahmed Musa is also set to test the strengths of Zimbabwe’s backline, likely to consist of Tendai Darikwa, Alec Mudimu, Teenage Hadebe and Devine Lunga.
Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has also returned to the Nigeria side and should provide Zimbabwe with the sort of competition that they can use to examine themselves.
Warriors assistant coach Rahman Gumbo said the match against Nigeria would be important for Zimbabwe to assess their preparations.
“We are happy with the preparations, and we are going to play Nigeria in our next friendly match at the weekend. Now, we want to test our team against the big boys and see what happens from there,” he said.
George Chigova, Edmore Sibanda, Tendai Darikwa, Jimmy Dzingai, Devine Lunga, Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu, Marshall Munetsi, Marvelous Nakamba, Danny Phiri, Ovidy Karuru, Kuda Mahachi, talent Chawapihwa, Khama Billiat, Nyasha Mushekwi, Tino Kadewere, Evans Rusike, Knowledge Musona