BY HENRY MHARA
WARRIORS captain Knowledge Musona is targeting qualification to at least the third round of the Fifa World Cup qualifying phase.
Zimbabwe are placed in Group G of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers together with Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia.
The qualification campaign begins in June with the Warriors scheduled to play the opening and closing matches of the group at home.
Musona said the team has enough arsenal to win all group matches and advance.
Anything short of progression to the next stage, according to Musona, would be considered a failure for a team widely regarded as the best to be produced in the country.
“We have a team full of quality, so we can only stop ourselves,” Musona said.
“We have proved that we can match any team any day. Qualification to the next stage is possible, but we need to take each game as it comes,” he said.
The fixtures list is kind to Zimbabwe.
“The fixtures are fair. It is good to start and finish at home because if you do well in the first game and collect three points, it gives you confidence going to the next games. Also, if we need to play a decider to fight for the first spot it will be good and a big advantage because it will be a home game,” the Belgium-based striker said.
Zimbabwe will begin their World Cup campaign at home to neighbours South Africa between June 5 and 8, before travelling to Ethiopia the following week.
The qualifiers resume in September with back-to-back clashes against Ghana in the first week of that month.
The Warriors will then travel to South Africa between October 10 and 12 and wrap up their campaign with a home match against Ethiopia the following week.
The top team in the group will progress to the final qualifying round where they join nine other group winners from the continent to play home-and-away over two legs in November.
The five winners will represent Africa at the World Cup finals in Qatar next year.
The Zdravko Logarušic-coached side advanced to the second round of the qualifiers after a nerve-wrecking 3-2 aggregate win over Somalia in the first round two years ago.
Zimbabwe will use the World Cup qualifiers as preparations for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
They are hoping to progress to the group stages of the Afcon finals for the first time in their history. Musona has led the team to two consecutive finals, a feat previously achieved by the great Peter Ndlovu.
Next year’s Afcon finals set for Cameroon in January will be the third straight time Musona will be featuring at the tournament, also another huge feather in his cap.
He has often blamed their poor performance at the finals on inadequate preparations.
“Every team’s success starts with good preparations, so there are no two ways about it. If you have good preparations, results will come easy on the field of play,” Musona said.
Warriors’ participation at the Afcon finals has often been chaotic due to the players’ disputes against Zifa over appearance fees and bonuses.
But Zifa president Felton Kamambo has promised that it will not happen again.
He said the association was already in the process of drafting contracts for the players which will stipulate what each of them will earn.
Kamambo said the document will be finalised before September this year.
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