BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
ZIMBABWE international midfielder Marshall Munetsi believes the Warriors are in a tough group of the 2021 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers and issued a passionate appeal to his teammates to work extra hard to navigate their way to the finals in Cameroon.
The France-based midfielder, who plies his trade with Ligue 1 side Stade Reims, said they had played Botswana in the Cosafa Cup and noted that they were not a bad side.
“I think we are in a tough group and will need to work harder to qualify. Algeria are the champions, then there is Zambia and Botswana, which are also good teams. We have played Botswana in the Cosafa Cup and they are not a bad side. Their football has been evolving over the years so its not going to be easy,” he said.
“But look, we are also a good team, we played well in the last qualifiers and all we need is to be consistent and focused.”
They get their Group H campaign underway with a clash against the Zebras of Botswana at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow evening before they make the trip to face Zambia on Wednesday.
Kick-off for tomorrow’s match is 6pm.
Munesti, who was on the books of Orlando Pirates in South Africa before making the big move to France in June, said he had gained a lot since his switch.
“The move has helped me a lot. You realise you have to work hard to meet the requirements in Europe. You have to be strong, mentally and physically. Generally, it helps you improve your game and we just hope to get a good result against Botswana,” he said.
Warriors coach Joey Antipas has put together some of the best players that the countries has, although some have withdrawn mainly due to injuries.
He also warned that Botswana, the lowest ranked side in the pool, were not to be underrated as their current crop of players has played together for a long time.
“One thing we must never do is to underestimate them (Botswana). They are very difficult opponents. They have got a few foreign-based players, but the core of their team has always been playing together for years. We have to get into the match and give hundred percent,” he said.
Antipas had planned to field Charlton Athletic striker Macauley Bonne against Zambia which would have been his first competitive match after he secured his passport to become eligible to play for Zimbabwe.
However, the forward announced he would not be able to feature for the Warriors on medical grounds.
Big defender Cliff Moyo, who also plays in England but in the lower divisions, could be given his first cap for the Warriors.
The Warriors are hoping to make it to the Cameroon finals, where they expect to make up for this years’ disappointment after exiting the Afcon finals in Egypt in the group stages with only a point from the drawn game against Uganda.