The Sunday Mail
THE Warriors touched down in Congo mid-morning yesterday, nearly 24 hours after they had left Harare, with talisman Khama Billiat saying the lads are ready to do the business.
Billiat believes the Warriors — who had spent the night in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before connecting to Brazzaville — will not tank at the Stade Alphonse Massmba Debat.
“Look we are not under any illusions about how difficult this mission is but we are also aware of what we are capable of. We always back ourselves whether we are playing at home or away,” said the Kaizer Chiefs man.
“We had a good camp, travelled well, and are ready to implement what we worked on at training.
“Congo want to bounce back having lost their opening game but we are also equally hungry, we want to follow up on the win against Liberia with another positive result.”
The Group G Africa Cup of Nations qualifier kicks off at 16:30 hours and is expected to be broadcast live on Supersport.
Billiat sat out training for most of the week because of a tight hamstring but the midfielder, who turned 28 on the 19th of last month, revealed that he is good to go.
“I am ready and raring to go. It was just a case of being cautious and not pushing myself because such injuries are delicate but everything is fine now,” he said.
“You know playing for the national team is the ultimate honour and each time I wear that Warriors jersey, it’s all about giving all I can.
“Everyone in the team is fired up, we want maximum points.”
But the Warriors are unlikely to go all gung-ho on the hosts who are keen on collecting their first points of the campaign having lost their opening encounter 1-3 to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa spent most of the week emphasizing the importance of defensive discipline, noting that an early go for Congo will force his men to chase the game.
“We won our opening game against Liberia and they lost to the DRC but that cannot be used to gauge how this game will go. This is a different ball game altogether,” said Chidzambwa.
“Yes we want to win every match we play and will attack Congo but we will have to be cautious as we go about it.
“We are playing a very good team away from home and there is no need for us to open the game. There must be the right balance between defending and attacking.
“We have worked on a game plan that will give us that balance, the boys have grasped the game plan we have for Congo and are raring to go.”
Indications are that Evans Rusike will be deployed as the lone striker with Billiat and skipper Knowledge Musona offering pace and width down the wings.
Meanwhile, the hosts are equally confident of victory despite having only won one of their last five Afcon qualifiers.
The win, a 1-0 home won over Guinea Bissau in September 2016, is sandwiched by draw against Zambia, a 2-1 defeat away in Kenya and the 1-3 humbling they got in Kinshasa in June last year.