Warriors seek friendlies

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has stepped up efforts to secure a friendly match for the Warriors ahead of their decisive 2013 African Nations Cup second leg qualifier against Angola next month.

A 3-1 first leg win two weeks ago left the Warriors on the verge of qualification, having missed the last three editions of Africa’s premier football competition.

The home side got their goals from man-of the-match Khama Billiat, Sweden-based midfield star Archieford Gutu and an own goal from Angola forward Mateus.

Rahman Gumbo’s men now go into the second leg on October 14 as favourites to qualify for the finals in South Africa next January.

Before the first leg, Zimbabwe failed to make use of the Fifa international date set aside for friendly internationals and under such circumstances, the 3-1 first leg lead came as a huge relief for a success- starved football nation.

The Warriors build-up to that match was also characterised by poor preparations with players joining camp late.

To make matters worse, star players Knowledge Musona and Tinashe Nengomasha failed to turn up.
Warriors seek friendlies …Mali, Ghana likeliest opponents.

But Zifa is not ready to take chances this time around.

The association is leaving no stone unturned, with Zifa board member for competitions Benedict Moyo revealing plans to fine-tune the Warriors ahead of the blockbuster tie in Luanda.

But the problem is, there are no Fifa international dates between now and October 14.

“What we have done is to try to coerce other teams that will be making their way down to southern Africa for their matches to pass through Zimbabwe so that we can play a friendly,” he said.

“If that is not possible, our team will pass through another country to play a friendly before making its way to Luanda. At the moment, I’m 60 percent sure that we will definitely play a friendly match before the second leg in Angola.”

As things stand, Mali and Ghana are the likeliest opponents.

On the weekend of October 12-14, Mali will be in Gaborone, where they are scheduled to meet Botswana in their Afcon second leg qualifier.

The Eagles won the first leg 3-0 in Bamako two weeks ago.

So Zifa will try to lure the West Africans to pass through Harare on their way to Gaborone.

Similarly, the Black Stars of Ghana will also be in the region on the same weekend when they travel to Blantyre to face Malawi.

Ghana, who are four-time African champions, won the first leg 2-0 against the Flames and will be favourites to reach their 19th Afcon finals in their history.

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