'We now know the Zambians better'

HARARE – Zimbabwe national football team coach Ian “Dibango” Gorowa has challenged his players to rise above the negativity surrounding their African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier against Zambia Saturday. 

The Warriors came under fire following a lacklustre performance in front of their home fans in the first leg of the final qualifier in Harare last weekend. The match was drawn nil all.

The draw left the Warriors with a seemingly insurmountable task of forcing a scoring draw or a win in the second leg at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndol.

Gorowa and his technical staff received a major boost yesterday after skipper Masimba Mambare was certified fit for the clash.

The Warriors had been fretting over the fitness of the Highlanders midfielder after he sat out Wednesday’s training session with a knee injury. 

But Mambare took full part in the team’s training programme yesterday, much to the relief of Gorowa.

“The good news is that Mambare has been declared fit and he trained with the rest of the team,” Gorowa told the Daily News.

“He is one of the important members of the squad whom we are looking forward to play an important role in our quest. We continue with our preparations, and we are looking forward to the match.

“It seems like an impossible task, but we have to give ourselves a chance. I think we still have a 100 percent chance of beating Zambia in their backyard. I think the pressure of playing away from the home fans will work in our favour. We now know the Zambians better and we are very aware of what they are capable of doing.”

The former Zimbabwe international, who has come under scrutiny for abandoning his predecessor   Klaus-Dieter Pagels’ subtle brand of passing football three games into his new job, insisted that the Warriors were on the right path under his stewardship.

“We have to go there with our game plan. We have to be balanced in our approach since we are playing away. We will have to defend well and attack at the right time,” he said.

“The good thing is the players know what is needed. We played well in the first leg but failed to utilise our chances. I hope the guys will go and win on the pitch. That's all we want to focus on.

“We just need to work on their confidence and I think we will be ready for the match. They are aware of what is needed by their fans and I hope they will up their game and deliver.”

In pursuit of goals, the Warriors will be banking on their three strikers, the FC Platinum pair of Donald Ngoma and Nelson Maziwisa alongside CAPS United’s Dominic Chungwa.

The Warriors, who were initially scheduled to leave yesterday for the Zambia Copperbelt, are now expected to fly out on Friday.

Meanwhile, Zambia coach Herve Renard has revealed that qualifying for next year’s Chan is among the top priorities for the Cosafa champions.

“We had three goals – winning the Cosafa, qualifying to the Chan and also qualifying to the World Cup.

“We have achieved our first goal of winning the Cosafa, now we’ve to get our second target of Chan qualification,” the Frenchman told Zambian media this week.

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