Warriors' one more chance: Sibanda

HARARE – Zimbabwe midfielder Charles Sibanda feels there is a lot at stake for the Warriors in Saturday’s decisive African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier against Zambia.

Sibanda said the match presents the current crop of Warriors an opportunity to prove their worth and at the same time provide an opportunity for most of the players to take part in a major tournament while still in the prime of their careers.

The 28-year-old FC Platinum attacking midfielder, voted the country’s finest football in 2010 when he helped Motor Action to their maiden Zimbabwean league title, says that weight of pressure will spur the Warriors on at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

The Chan is a tournament for players still plying their trade in African leagues, and Sibanda believes qualification will help the players in the current Warriors squad to challenge for places when the foreign-based contingent return to national duty.

“For me and a lot of other guys this will be our last short to be part of Chan because of age,” Sibanda told the Daily News this week.

“It will mean a lot if we qualify because I played in Chan in 2011, so if we qualify I will be happy to be at Chan again. This is a local-based squad, so we also want to show that we can also fit in when the foreign-based guys return.”

Having drawn the first leg nil all in Harare last weekend, the Warriors need a scoring draw or a win in the Copperbelt this afternoon to progress to the finals in South Africa.

Zimbabwe’s performance in the first leg goalless draw at Rufaro Stadium last weekend has since put the side under enormous pressure from their multitudes of fans; some who believed the result could have different had the technical team made intelligible decisions.

“For this game we must soldier on. We still have a chance.  It’s the last game for us before we go to South Africa,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda watched the first leg match from the bench, but he is likely to be given a starting berth by coach Ian Gorowa this afternoon.

Zimbabwe’s striking department is made up of the FC Platinum duo of Donald Ngoma and Nelson Maziwisa alongside CAPS United’s Donald Ngoma.

“When we go to Zambia we won’t get to many chances maybe we will just get one or two chances and we must utilise those chances,” Sibanda said.

Meanwhile, Zambia coach Herve Renard has said the squad is in high spirits ahead of the crucial return leg.

Renard has included Power Dynamos midfielder Thomas Nyirenda and George Chilufya of Nchanga Rangers to strengthen his squad.

“The players are doing fine in training and the morale in camp is high, so there is no reason why we should not win this particular game,” Renard told Zambian media.

Other players who also got Renard’s nod in the squad include Julius Situmbeko, Percy Bilyoti and Gift Wamundila.

Zim squad: Munyaradzi Diya, Tafadzwa Dube, George Chigova, Partson Jaure, Blessing Chimwamuchere, Masimba Mambare, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Devon Chafa, Danny Phiri, Dominic Chungwa, Felix Chindungwe, Milton Ncube, Tawanda Muparati, Bruce Kangwa, Charles Sibanda, Donald Ngoma, Ali Sadiki, Nelson Maziwisa, Eric Chipeta, Peter Moyo.

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