SOMETIME back, we boldly declared that Zimbabwe no longer needed Knowledge Musona and that he should be allowed to take his bow - and now it appears we were wrong.
After watching the Warriors miss those easy to score chances against Rwanda, we have been forced to rethink and declare that Zimbabwe still needs the smiling Assassin just as much as Portugal relies on the 38-year-old, Christiano Ronaldo.
Even in his worst days, the Al Riyadh SC striker could have taken care of those chances that Terence Dzukamanja, Prince Dube, Gerald Takwara and young brother Walter, allowed to pass.
What was clearly evident in the game against Rwanda was that Zimbabwe needs somebody of the experience of Knowledge, a striker who is at the right position at the right time, and somebody capable of opening up the defence with those darting runs which are Knowledge’s trademark qualities.
Yes, Zimbabwe has exceptionally talented strikers in the form of the younger Musona, Dube, Dzvukamanja, Tino Kadewere and of course, Admiral Muskwe, but what cannot be disputed is that they need Knowledge’s guidance for them to deliver.
After all, Musona, is only 33 years and will be 34 in 2024 and is playing in the Saudi Professional League that is fast becoming one of the most competitive leagues in the world considering the wealth of talent gathered there.
It is unfortunate that Knowledge is not in today’s game against the Super Eagles of Nigeria but the hope, if not the expectation, is that the Warriors will prevail over a team that has lost its way around world football.
If this Super Eagles team could play out a 1-1 draw and for that matter at home against, of all teams, Lesotho, then there is no reason why the Warriors cannot pick up the maximum points.
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This can only come true if coach Baltermar Brito gets his team selection spot-on especially in the strike force where from the look of things, he has limited resources.
He has to make his choice on whether to start with the injury prone Muskwe and Kadewere or decide on Dzvukamanja and Dube, who unfortunately has failed to turn his club form into national team success.
The Prince has been barely recognizable in Warriors colours compared to the Dube who has been creating waves in Tanzania by scoring goals at will for his club Azam.
Surely, the Nigerians are no longer the formidable side of old and so can easily be beaten. Their new side lacks talent and cannot be compared to the good old days when the Super Eagles paraded the likes of Sunday Oliseh, Nwanko Kanu, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Rashid Yekini, Victor Ikpeba, amongst others.
Even their current best player Victor Osimhem cannot be compared to the likes of Okocha and Kanu and does not even come closer to Zimbabwe’s own Peter Ndlovu who was a shining beacon for Coventry City in the English Premiership.
More importantly is the fact that Osimhem, who plays for Napoli in Italy is not available for this match although Zimbabwe already had an antidote for him in the form of Jordan Zemura.
For Brito, there won’t be any excuses as the Warriors have been together and training as a team since Thursday, a day after their disappointing and unexpected 1-1 draw against Rwanda.
He also has the added advantage of the presence of Zemura and Andy Rinomhota who arrived late in Kigali and not in time for the game against Rwanda but are up for selection against Nigeria.
Surely, this group that also includes Benin and South Africa is one that Zimbabwe can easily win only if the coach and the Zifa Normalisation Committee get their act right.
Our biggest competitor could turn out to be South Africa.
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