Pagels targets upset

HARARE - The Brazil 2014 dream might be over, but Zimbabwe football coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels wants his players to play like their lives depend on it when they clash with Egypt in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

The Warriors, who are rebuilding under the German national and have shifted focus to the future, are bottom of Group G with just a point from three games. 

And with qualification out of the reach, Pagels has put trust in the next generation of Zimbabwean footballers, picking promising players capable of delivering his philosophy of an attacking brand of football based on a fast passing game and strength in recovering possession. 

Egypt are in control in Group G of these qualifiers, sitting on five points.  They lead second-placed Guinea with nine points, while Mozambique are third with two points, one ahead of bottom-placed Zimbabwe. 

The Pharaohs are now overwhelming favourites to win the group and progress to the next stage of qualifiers. Pagels says posting an upset over the Egyptians will gauge the Warriors’ progress in their rebuilding exercise.

Pagels’ new generation of Warriors won the hearts of many in March when they put up a gallant performance against the record-seven time African champions, coming  minutes of forcing a famous draw at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria but for Pharaohs icon Mohamed Aboutrika to blast home a late penalty and win it 2-1 for the hosts. 

“This match (on Sunday) is really important to us,” Pagels told reporters after the Warriors’ morning training session yesterday.

“This game against Egypt is really of international level. And when we re-build a team for Cosafa, Chan and Afcon, it’s very important to us. I am really happy with the players that we have because all of them are good.

“They know the areas we need to improve and they did well in this morning session. People can expect a good fighting spirit on Sunday. These players are here to win this match, they are not on holiday. We want a result. It will show us how well we have progressed.

“Yesterday evening (Monday) we had a DVD session where we spoke about the weaknesses from our last game in Egypt. I am happy with how the guys have responded.”
Zimbabwe warmed up for the Egypt tie with a one all draw away to Malawi in an international friendly two weeks ago.
The Warriors were under the guidance of assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa.

Squad: Washington Arubi, Maxwell Nyamupanedengu, Artwell Mukandi, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Denver Mukamba, Ocean Mushure, Archieford Gutu, Silas Songani, Abbas Amidu, Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat, Roderick Mutuma, Masimba Mambare, Matthew Rusike, Lincoln Zvasiya, Devon Chafa, Felix Chindungwe, Erick Chipeta, Tafadzwa Rusike, Partson Jaure, Ronald Chitiyo, Ovidy Karuru, Nicholas Guyo, Cuthbert Malajila. - Godknows Matarutse

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