Warriors got easiest draw: Pasuwa

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BY HENRY MHARA

FORMER Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa believes the team got the easiest Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) draw ever and should not have any problems progressing beyond the group stages.

Zimbabwe were on Tuesday drawn in Group B together with Senegal, Guinea and Malawi. The top two teams from each group will advance to the round of 16.

Four best third-placed teams from the six pools will also reach the knockout phase.

Pasuwa, who led the team to the 2017 Afcon finals in Gabon, says the Warriors got the best possible draw and a chance to progress to the knockout stage for the first time in their history.

“If you want to compare with the teams that we have been drawn against in our previous participation at the tournament, I think this is the easiest,” he said.

However, the former Dynamos coach, who currently coaches Big Bullets in the Malawi Premier League, says the Warriors’ success will depend on their preparations.

“This is an opportunity for us to make history by progressing to the next stage. If we can go past the group stage, you never know. We can even do much better. This is a good chance to do well. It is a good draw, but we can’t underrate any opponent in the group. It is those so-called small teams like Malawi that will be tricky.”

“But everything will depend on the preparations. That has been our main downfall in the past and if we can fix that, then we have a good chance.”

Pasuwa faced all the three teams during his tenure as Warriors boss, with varying successes.

Zimbabwe were in the same qualifying group with Guinea and Malawi for a spot in the 2017 Afcon finals where they managed to qualify with a game to spare for the first time.

He managed seven points against the two teams, beating Malawi home and away.

The Warriors battled to a 1-1 draw against the west Africans at Rufaro Stadium before losing the dead-rubber away in Conakry.

Pasuwa’s lads were then pooled in a very tough group at the finals, together with Senegal, Tunisia and Algeria.

After producing a gallant performance to hold Riyad Mahrez’s Algerian side to a 2-2 draw in their opening match, Zimbabwe went on to lose 2-0 to a Sadio Mane inspired Senegal.

They were eventually beaten 4-2 by Tunisia to crash out of the tournament.

Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara