BY FORTUNE MBELE
FORMER Warriors midfielder Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda expects the national team to make a winning start to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign when they take on South Africa in a Group G clash at the National Sports Stadium on Friday.
He believes the Warriors have a good opportunity to at least progress to the next stage of the qualifiers, after they were grouped with Bafana Bafana, Ethiopia and Ghana, who are the top seeds.
“An opportunity has been presented for us to go to the World Cup finals for the first time. Our top players like Khama (Billiat) to come to the party, rise to the occasion and see us through. There are so many things that have bothered us and have been a challenge as Zimbabweans, including the COVID-19 pandemic and these guys should try and make us happy. We are banking on them to win. We want nothing short of victory,” Sibanda said.
The former Dynamos midfielder understands the predicament that coach Zdravko Logarušic might have after losing all of the United Kingdom-based players, Marvelous Nakamba, Brendan Galloway, Jordan Zemura, Tendayi Darikwa, Admiral Muskwe, Macauley Bonne and David Moyo.
Teenage Hadebe, based in the United States, was also barred from coming in for the two matches.
“That we did not know who is coming, who is not available, to begin with, was a challenge on its own. But all is now clear; we work with those that are available. It is now up to the coach on how he selects his team and plays his cards on the day. The South Africans have been playing and are fit, like the Mamelodi Sundowns players in the squad who have not stopped from the Champions League but there are no big names save for Percy Tau. But at home I am positive. I remember during our playing days even giants Algeria and Egypt would fall here. We must just make sure we don’t lose on Friday,” Sibanda said.
The legendary Sibanda said despite the players who won’t be making it, the Warriors side remains a strong squad.
“Under the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances, it is the best squad that they could have come up with and the players must shine and prove that they deserve to be there,” he said.
Skipper Knowledge Musona and the France-based duo of Tino Kadewere and Marshal Munetsi are available with the contingent of those based in South Africa, Zambia and locally-based players that were on standby.
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