One last chance for Warriors

ALEXANDRIA - Warriors goalkeeper Washington Arubi believes the lack of expectation surrounding Zimbabwe’s 2014 World Cup campaign might work in their favour as they prepare for tonight’s tough qualifier against Egypt, but concedes defeat will spell the end of yet another dream.

The match kicks off at 7pm Zimbabwean time.

Zimbabwe are bottom of Group G with a single point from their opening two games against Guinea and Mozambique while their opponents today and the favourites lead the pool with a maximum six points.

Mozambique and Guinea played out a 0-0 draw on Sunday in Maputo.

Following the shattering failure to qualify for last January’s African Nations Cup finals in South Africa and their precarious position in their quest to qualify for Brazil 2014, devastated Zimbabwean football fans have lost interest in the national side, with many unaware of their team’s presence here in Egypt ahead of tonight’s tie.

But Arubi, who is now expected to be fit for the match after injuring two fingers in training on Saturday, said the Warriors have a wonderful opportunity to cause an upset here and win back a nation’s confidence.

“As players, we know that the coach has been talking about rebuilding a new team from the ashes, which is a very good thing.” Arubi told the Daily News yesterday in reference to new Warriors coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels rebuilding stance.

“But as much as we support the move of starting afresh, we also want to win. We are not just going to go there and say we want to participate. We will give our all and hopefully get a result.”

Arubi and chief striker Knowledge Musona, the Warriors’ most senior players in Pagels’ experimental team, were back in training yesterday much to the technical bench’s relief.

Musona was bed-ridden on Sunday after catching a fever but was given a clean bill of health yesterday.

Arubi, who is the Warriors vice-captain, said the absence of hope back home was an extra motivational factor for the Warriors.

“We know that all Zimbabweans love the Warriors, so to see them losing interest in the team like this disturbs me. But that lack of pressure will work to our advantage come tomorrow. We want to do it for the country. But we know that if we lose tomorrow, that’s it. We are out of the World Cup.”

The Mutare-born stopper, who joined South African top-flight side University of Pretoria from Dynamos mid-last year, described the obtaining situation in Zimbabwean football as a “phase”, saying better days are coming.

“As players, we know that football has phases, we are going through a phase. It will pass. You never know, it might be in this campaign.”

Meanwhile, Arubi has praised AmaTuks’ Zimbabwean goalkeeping coach Tendai Tanyanyiwa for helping him settle at the Absa Premiership side after joining from Dynamos mid-last year.

“Firstly I want to thank God for what he has done for me,” he said. “I’m enjoying myself and things are going on well. Coach Tendai has been really good to me, helping me settle. Other senior guys in the team as well like Lionel (Mtizwa).”

WARRIORS SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi, Maxwell Mupanedengu.

Defenders: Lincoln Zvasiya, Partson Jaure, Augustine Mbara, Ocean Mushure, Hardlife Zvirekwi.

Midfielders: Denver Mukamba (captain), Archieford Gutu, Ovidy Karuru, Khama Billiat, Tafadzwa Rusike, Abbas Amidu, Masimba Mambare, Ronald Chitiyo, Silas Songani.

Forwards: Knowledge Musona, Rodreck Mutuma. - Enock Muchinjo in Egypt

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