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Warriors target Afcon quarter finals

by Staff reporter
28 Dec 2021 at 07:21hrs | Views
WARRIORS veteran defender Onismor Bhasera yesterday said the national football team was targetting a place in the knockout stages of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Zimbabwe is in the same pool as Senegal, who named a squad of Europe-based stars among them Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Chelsea goalkeeper Edourd Mandy.

The Warriors will be without Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba and Stade Reims' Marshal Munetsi, who are both injured as well as Tendai Darikwa who chose not to be selected for the tornament.

Guinea, who also named a host of Europe-based players, and Malawi are in the same pool as the Warriors.

There was a collective sigh at the naming of the Senegal squad among the Warriors supporters but Bhasera is not reading too much into the names.

"The build-up has been good so far, the guys are doing well.

"I am going to have a word with the players, I have  been there before, but football is always changing and its going to be different this time around but we are looking forward to it.

"Our goal is to reach the knockout stage of the tournament this time around."

Zimbabwe has never gone beyond the group stages but the Warriors are looking to finish among the top two teams to guarantee progression.

"We have to do our job, the best team on the day will win it's not about stars. We have to go out there and put in a shift, the result  will always take care of itself.

"What is important is to put in a shift, sometimes you lose but we have to leave everything on the field.

"We are not worried about star-studded teams, we are just going there to work hard and encourage each other."

While he lamented the misfortune of injuries which hit the team, Bhasera is confident that the players that have come to replace the absent crew will prove their worth.

"It's unfortunate in football there are injuries but the tournament is not going to stop.

"The country has to send a team out there. When someone is missing it's an opportunity for another player to come in and showcase their talent.

"The players are ready to go out and fight, I am happy with the team that was put together by the technical staff."

Coach Norman Mapeza said he was happy with the way things had gone so far despite a few setbacks.

"So far so good, we started our training yesterday everyone is here expect for Hadede," Mapeza said.  "I am happy with what I have seen so far, I hope we keep working hard and prepare.

"Well for our trip to Cameroon. We would have wanted everyone  to be here but that's the nature of football, some of the guys are not here because of injuries.

"We have brought in some guys who are working hard. Its a pity that some of the guys who played in the qualifiers are not going to Cameroon."

He said over the last few days he had been working on psyching the players but has noted that the group is already motivated.

"We have talking to the players and for them just to be here is a massive motivation itself and now it's all up to them, we have done our part.

"Its all about mental strength, the motivation is there to go out there and do well."

He, however, is not ready to commit himself on the targets in Cameroon.

"We will see what we can achieve when we have everyone, we will then see and access where we can be.

"For now we have to work on combinations, we have some new guys here so we will be working on combinations  and the tactical part of the game since we have some training matches lined up for us."

The squad is expected  to leave for Cameroon tomorrow where they will link up with Europe-based players including Lyon striker Tino Kadewere, Jordan Zemura of Bournemouth, Knowledge Musona in Saudi Arabia, David Moyo, coming in from Scotland as well as Admiral Muskwe

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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