The Sunday Mail
IT’S been a long time coming — nearly 28 years or 10 115 days — but Zimbabwe finally has the chance to handle some unfinished business against Congo Brazzaville.
Karma always comes around doesn’t she?
The story of how Congo came to Harare on July 14 1991 and pierced our hearts as well as the country’s 1992 Africa Cup of Nations dream has been told painfully, a countless times. We dare not repeat, nay not on this fine Sunday!
Today is all about reminding the Red Devils that what happened in 1991 at the National Sports Stadium was a fluke, a once in a blue moon occurrence. The Warriors just need a point to secure a ticket to the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt, but Sunday Chidzambwa’s boys have a score to settle and are going all out for a win.
“We know what they did in 1991 and it’s time to put it right,” said big goalkeeper George Chigova. And everything appears to be coming right too before the 3 pm kick off whistle at the NSS.
Team doctor Soman Mudariki revealed that skipper Knowledge Musona, who had question marks hanging over his fitness, is good to go.
“Knowledge has shown a good response to therapy treatment with activities on the field of play. I am not the one to say he will play but what we have done is that we have availed him for selection,” said Mudariki.
“With the rigorous agility and assessment we have done, he should be able to handle himself during the course of the match, it’s up to the coaches to play him 90 minutes or 60 minutes. “The strong indications that he would play started showing on Friday, so I can safely say he is good to go.”
From yesterday’s training sessions Musona is likely to slot behind Tino Kadewere upfront with Khama Billiat and Talent Chawapihwa putting on the after burners down the wings.
Marshal Munetsi and Danny “Deco” Phiri will most likely provide the steel in the middle of the park while Tendai Darikwa, Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu and Ronald Pfumbidzai provide cover to Chigova.
Although he rarely gives much away, Chidzambwa looked content with how things were shaping up when the Warriors got a feel of the match venue yesterday morning.
With his starting XI settled, Chidzambwa and his technical team will now have to decide on whether to use the Umbro kit whose last consignment arrived in Harare on Friday. Zifa president Felton Kamambo told The Sunday Mail that a full Umbro kit has been received but its use today depends on what the Warriors think of it.
“The kit is here, it came in batches but yes we now have a full kit to speak of,” said Kamambo. However, the question of whether the boys will wear it for this crucial game depends on the technical team.
“They will inspect it and make a decision. If they say no we will revert to the Plan B that we had already put in place.”
On the other side of this Afcon battle of attrition is a Congo Brazzaville side that is in town without some of its key players.
However, their Brazilian coach Valdo has been reminding his charges that his team, although bottom of the group, can still make it to Egypt.
“The pressure in on Zimbabwe,” he said. “We are here without our key players but we have to find a way of winning this game. A chance of qualifying for Afcon is there for the taking and we want to make the most of it.
“We know Zimbabwe is a good team but they can be beaten.
Congo Brazzaville came here and did it in 1991 and the team is here to do it again.”