Warriors coach Ian “Dibango” Gorowa reckons the road to the 2015 African Cup of Nations in Morocco will not be as easy as some people think.
As the Warriors troop into camp for next weekend’s qualifier away to Tanzania, the national team gaffer highlights that a lot of hard work stands between Zimbabwe and a third Afcon dance.
Speaking for the first time since the 2015 Afcon draw was made, Gorowa warned that the Warriors need not take anything for granted.
A successful negotiation of the Taifa Stars hurdle will see Zimbabwe face the winner of the tie between Mozambique and South Sudan for a ticket into the group stages. Zambia, Niger and Cape Verde await in the group stages.
The Afcon qualification draw was greeted by a lot of cheer and optimism locally, but Gorowa is coy at being over-confident.
“It’s not an easy draw. I disagree (with those saying it’s easy), we have to be cautious, I mean very cautious.
“Tanzania are a good team and the goalless draw we played out with them in a friendly late last year is an indicator that they are quite an improved side.
“Our journey will be more than a marathon. Unlike others we have to play qualifiers just to get to the group stages …there is a lot of hard work involved,” said the Warriors mentor.
Gorowa will go into battle without most of his first choice troops as next Sunday’s clash does not fall on a Fifa designated international match day date.
“I am naturally worried about going into the match without some of the foreign-based players we had earmarked.
“But the good thing is most of the players from our Chan team are available and, like I had already alluded to, they will make the core of the team while everyone else joins in,” he said.
Tanzania, on their part, will miss the services of their foreign-based contingent with the TP Mazembe striking duo of Mbwana Samata and Thomas Ulimwengu pulling out of the squad due to club commitments.
Mazembe, just like Edward Sadomba’s Al Ahly Benghazi, will be in Caf Champions League action next weekend. Young Africans’ 25-year-old attacking midfielder Mrisho Ngassa, who has had trials with English Premiership side West Ham United, is racing against time to be fit for the tie.
The Taifa Stars’ preparations, however, got a major boost when highly regarded 26-year-old versatile midfielder Mwinyi Kazimoto, who plays for Al Markhiya in the Qatari second division, joined camp on Tuesday last week.
Tanzania, who have qualified once for Afcon finals (1980), are on a rebuilding exercise under the mentorship of widely-travelled Dutchman Mart Nooij.
Nooij, who replaced Kim Poulsen, will be guiding the team in a competitive match for the first time having guided them over a goalless draw in a friendly against Malawi.
Meanwhile, Warriors team manager Shariff Mussa has revealed that players will start trickling into camp tonight.
“We expect everyone to be in camp by Monday (tomorrow), including the foreign-based guys,” Mussa said.
Goalkeepers: W Arubi, G Chigova, M Diya
Defenders: H Zvirekwi, E Chipeta, P Jaure, S Linyama, M Ncube, R Pfumbidzai
Midfielders: W Katsande, D Phiri, P Manhanga, S Alimenda, N Masuku, P Moyo, M Mudewe, T Chawapiwa,
Strikers: K Mahachi, T Ndoro, S Sithole (Ajax Cape Town), K Nkatha, C Malajila.
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