We don't fear Zambia: Mambare

HARARE – Zimbabwe national football team captain Masimba Mambare says the Warriors do not fear Zambia going into this Sunday’s rescheduled African Nations Championships (Chan) final qualifier at Rufaro Stadium.

The Warriors were scheduled to take on Chipolopolo last weekend at the same venue but the tie was cancelled after Cameroonian match officials Aurelien Juenkou, Fuanta Joseph Lambi, Elvis Noupue and Christopher Nde failed to make it in time for the match.

The quartet was stranded while in transit at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya after fire gutted the arrival terminal.

After the cancellation of the match the Warriors were set to resume their training program on Tuesday but things did not go according to plan with the Castle Premier Soccer League arranged mid-week fixtures.

All players in the Warriors squad were released to their various PSL clubs and took part in league matches on Wednesday and Thursday.

This left Warriors coach Ian Gorowa with very little preparation time to face the former African champions with most of the players returning to the national team only late on Friday.

On the other hand, after the cancellation of last weekend’s math, Zambia immediately flew out to France where they played a 1-1 draw in an international friendly against Senegal on Wednesday.

“Although we had only two days for preparations, I think every player will take on to the field with a winning mentality and we are not scared of Zambia,” Mambare told the Daily News on Sunday.

This will be the third time for the two teams to meet this year, having played meet in a friendly international and the Cosafa Cup final.

Chipolopolo has won the previous two meeting in 2013 by identical score lines of 2-0 and will start today’s match as favourites.

Mambare is, however, not fazed by the Zambian’s recent impeccable record against the Warriors and believes the home side will emerge victorious at the end of 90 minutes.

“We are not reading much into our previous encounters, as players we are focused and nothing can stop us from beating them because we also have a good squad,” said the Highlanders midfielder.

“As players we are used to the criticism. But we want to show everyone what we are capable of and the rest will follow later.

“We have a strong team and at training everyone is geared for this game. We have a good team and I believe we are going to fight and get a good result.

“This is our chance to redeem ourselves and get something for our fans to cheer at after that defeat in the Cosafa Cup final.”

The Warriors are looking for a healthy cushion from today’s game to take carry to Zambia for the second leg next weekend.

“We need to win here at home as we know it will be difficult for us to beat them in the return leg in their own back yard,” said the Warriors skipper.

“I know Zambia have always been tough to beat for us. We are ready for any challenge. These are the kind of matches that makes us grow stronger.

“They have a good team but we are equally a good side and I’m sure we will get a favourable result at home.”

Zimbabwe will be hoping to qualify for their third Chan tournament after reaching the previous two editions held in the Ivory Coast and Sudan.

South Africa will host the tournament next year in early January.

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