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Warriors seek AFCON consolation

by Staff reporter
18 Jan 2022 at 05:29hrs | Views
IT'S a tournament the players would want to forget in a hurry, given they flattered only to deceive in light of the massive financial support they have received from the Government through the Sports Commission.

It's a tournament they were expected to fare well and finally break their group stage jinx in the African Cup of Nations.

Given the calibre of the opponents they were drawn against in Group B of this football jamboree currently on-going here, the Warriors always stood a chance.

It was not until the technical team led by Norman Mapeza dismally failed to drill the team the right way.

Zimbabwe have already been booted out of the fiesta after losing their first two games against Senegal (1-0) and, of all teams, Malawi (2-1). The Warriors will conclude their AFCON business today against Guinea in a tie that has been reduced to a dead-rubber for them.

The match kicks-off at 6pm.

But the players know they have everything to fight for despite the embarrassing early exit.

Captain Knowledge Musona, who is clearly past his prime and was culpable for Malawi's first goal last Friday night, has been refusing to talk to the press, one of the responsibilities he is mandated to do as the leader of the team.

Somehow he has been coy throughout the Warriors' short-lived stay in the tournament where he was a big flop.

But defender Gerald Takwara, who has been one of the stand-out players for Zimbabwe in the opening two games, and midfielder Thabani Kamusoko, said there is everything to play for in the match against Guinea today.

"It's always disappointing to exit a tournament just two games into it," said Takwara.

"It is always a bad feeling to lose two consecutive games. But we should not lose heart as a team and as a country.

"We have another game against Guinea and we know what it means to win that match. That is a match which we should try to win at all costs.

"Our dignity as a team and as a country matters, we should fight for the badge and retain our national pride.

"At the end of the day it should not be ourselves only, it should be about everyone.

"We are sorry we disappointed the whole nation as a team. We were supposed to do better than we did. It's an embarrassment to have become the first team to exit the tournament. We tried our best but it wasn't good enough.

"But for now we are focused on the match against Guinea. This one should be ours. We need to win this one at all costs.

"We have been telling each other as players to fight for one another as national pride and dignity are at stake.

"We also need to know our rankings as a team has something to do with these matches and we have to put our heads on the wall and bodies on the line.

"We have been working hard at training rectifying the areas we think we haven't been good at. Everyone is raring to go and I think we will get it right against Guinea. The environment and the weather have changed a bit and we should go into this one with a positive mind." Mapeza is likely to make some wholesale changes to his squad and give a chance to those players that have not played a part in the first two games. But the likes of Takwara and Kamusoko could start given how the team has been lining up at training.

"We have one mindset as a team. We know we have disappointed everyone in this tournament and we need to get a consolation win against Guinea," Kamusoko said.

"The match against Guinea is very crucial. We can't leave the tournament without winning a single match. This is a game we have to play our socks off and try to correct every mistake we have made as a team in previous games."

Source - The Herald
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