Warriors back in Afcon draw

Mapeza is likely to preside over the next set of matches after he was roped in as an interim coach last month.

THE Warriors this week moved up the Fifa rankings, but they face the prospect of getting seeded into Pot 3 of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers scheduled for between September and November this year.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will establish 12 groups of four nations each with all six matches for the qualifiers congested between September and November.

Only the top two teams from each group will qualify for the showcase that will be played in Morocco next year.

Zimbabwe, now ranked 122 in the world and 33 in Africa, are suffering the effects of a two year absence from international football, which saw them tumble in rankings due to inactivity.

They face Lesotho and South Africa in the next round of Group  C Fifa World Cup qualifiers this June.

Zimbabwe do not have a CAF approved stadium to host their home match against Lesotho and they are likely to host it in South Africa before dating Bafana Bafana in an away encounter.

During the June window, the Warriors will be hoping to gunner some points that may help them climb up the rankings, but it is unlikely they would break into the top 24.

Top 24 will contain Pot 1 and Pot 2 when the draw for the next Afcon qualifiers will be conducted.

This means that the Warriors are likely to face one of Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Algeria, Mali, Cameroon, South Africa, Burkina Faso or Democratic Republic of Congo, who currently occupy the top 12 places on the latest rankings.

The top 12 teams would be in Pot 1 while, according to the current rakings, Pot 2 would contain Cape Verde, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Zambia, Uganda, Angola, Benin, Mauritania, Namibia, Kenya and Comoros.

The Warriors would fancy their chances against anyone in Pot 2 but Cape Verde, Guinea and Gabon are some of the toughest in that zone.

Zimbabwe is in the same group as Benin for the 2026 Fifa World Cup quailifiers and were recently walloped by Kenya in a four nation invitational tournament that was hosted in Malawi last month as part of the preparations for the June round of qualifiers.

The Warriors missed the last Afcon qualifiers as they were serving a Fifa ban and will return to the hat for the next edition, which will be held in June in the north African country.

Zimbabwe played at the 2021 Afcon finals that were hosted in Cameroon after qualifying under coach Norman Mapeza's watch.

Mapeza is likely to preside over the next set of matches after he was roped in as an interim coach last month.

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