|Saturday, 16 June 2012 21:38|
A bruised Warriors squad troop into the giant National Sports Stadium this afternoon for a date with Burundi
seeking to re-ignite their hope of qualifying for next year’s African Cup of Nations finals in South Africa.
The Warriors will be eager to put a smile on their fans who could only watch in dismay as the team’s prospects of a dance at the world soccer jamboree to be hosted by Brazil in 2014 went up in smoke over the past three weeks.
Zimbabwe need to overturn a 1-2 deficit suffered at the hands of Les Hirondelles, as Burundi are affectionately known, to entertain hopes of lining up against Africa’s best at the 2013 soccer show-piece happening next door.
The Warriors, who have failed to find the target in their last two World Cup matches, will need not be reminded that a similar feat will see them booted out of the running by a determined Burundi side who declared on arrival that they are not here on holiday.
“This is a team that we played away in Burundi so we know what to expect and we have thus sufficiently geared ourselves for a grueling battle,” said the 1980 Soccer Star of the Year.
Mandigora, a veteran of African football jungles in his own right, admitted that scoring goals has been their Achilles’ heels, but the technical team was doing its best to rectify the problem.
The coming on board of the legendary Peter Ndlovu, who was tasked with sharpening the strikers, should give hope to the nation who expect nothing short of a clear victory.
The strikers will be happy to face a shaky Burundi defence m issing the services of skipper and central defender Vallery Nahayo.
However, the same cannot be said in defence where captain Tapuwa Kapini appears to have his defensive cover tailor-made for him.
There is nothing standing against a place for Oscar Machapa who has patrolled the right back position in the previous two matches against Guinea and Mozambique, with Onismor Bhasera complementing him on the left for the second week running.
first walls of defence but it is the identity of his partner that presents a challenge.
Judging from Gumbo’s last training session, Nengomasha is likely to be partnered in central midfield by Willard Katsande for the second straight week after he surprisingly started on the bench against the Syli Nationale of Guinea but lit up the show when he came in for Swiss based Archieford Gutu.
Cyprus-based Vusa Nyoni, who has never disappointed in national colours will also make a strong claim for a birth on the left wing.
Gumbo will however not find it easy to temper with his striking partnership of Musona and Chinyama who have continued to show that they are an act above the rest at training despite failing to turn their training form into match form.
Burundi’s assistant coach Amars Niyongabo conceded that the dynamics have changed and his team will not be expecting to duplicate their Bujumbura result today.
He also down-played the absence of his skipper Valery Nahayo saying whoever is going to be slotted to play in his position is expected to do the job equally well.