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Mapeza plots Afcon upsets

by Staff reporter
04 Jan 2022 at 05:58hrs | Views
Warriors coach Norman Mapeza was impressed with his team's performance in their drawn friendly match against Sudan in Cameroon on Sunday.

He believes that his team could spring a few surprises at the Africa Cup of Nations finals, where they will kick off against Senegal on Monday before they take on Guinea on January 14.

They will round off their Group B matches with a clash against Malawi in Yaoundé, the Cameroon capital, on January 18.

Having been hit by a number of withdrawals due to injuries and other reasons, few are giving Warriors a chance to make it in the top two.

Zimbabwe lost the spine of the team after the midfield duo of Marshal Munetsi and Marvelous Nakamba withdrew injured, while defenders Tendai Darikwa and Brendan Galloway are also missing.

But despite all adversity, Mapeza believes that the group of players at his disposal have enough in them to cause upsets.

"I think the guys played very well, especially in the first half. We created some clear cut chances. Unfortunately, maybe the sharpness is not yet there, but I am more than pleased with the performance," he said after presiding over the nil-all draw.

In that match, Zimbabwe missed a number of key players including skipper Knowledge Musona, striker Tino Kadewere and Jordan Zemura, who had not joined the squad by the weekend.

"If we can have the same performance and the same desire which I saw today towards our first games of the tournament, I think there might be some surprises," Mapeza added.

Senegal named a squad of Europe-based stars, among them Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Guinea, on the other hand, also have a number of players playing in France and will be captained by Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita.

One of the star players is Amadou Diawara, who plays for Roma in Italy.

One of Zimbabwe's senior players Onisimor Bhasera told NewsDay Sport before the squad left that they would not read too much into names and have confidence in their own abilities.

Zimbabwe were looking to play another friendly against Cameroon, but it was called off due to logistical issues.

The Warriors will continue with their preparations in Yaoundé before they move to Bafassoum, where they will play their matches against Senegal and Guinea.

They will return to the capital for the final group match against Malawi.

Yesterday, Zifa reported that forward Kuda Mahachi, who limped off the Sudan clash, had suffered a minor knock and should be fit for the Monday opener.

"It's nothing serious. It's a thigh contusion that resulted from a collision with an opponent. He should be okay in the next two to three days," team doctor Nicholas Munyonga told the Zifa website.

In the Sudan match, Mapeza played Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Bruce Kangwa, Teenage Hadebe and Kelvin Madzongwe in defence.

He had Never Tigere, Kundai Benyu and Gerald Takwara in midfield while the forward line was occupied by Mahachi, Prince Dube and Ishmael Wadi.

In goals, both Petros Mhari and Talbert Shumba had a run.

With Musona, Kadewere, Zemura and Admiral Muskwe all expected to join the squad, Maeza will be working on combinations ahead of the Senegal match.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe