Warriors seek redemption

HARARE – Zimbabwe national football team might be out of contention for a 2014 World Cup place but captain Masimba Mambare believes Sunday’s encounter against Mozambique is an opportunity to build on their new found form.

The Warriors who seat at the root of the African Zone Group G with just one point from five matches have a chance to end their failed campaign on a winning note when they take on Mozambique at Rufaro Stadium.

“I think we are coming from being boys to men,” Mambare told the Daily News on Sunday.

“This is an opportunity for us to grow. We have now played the Cosafa Cup where we won silver and we qualified for Chan (African Nations Championship).

“I don’t see Mozambique giving us problems we are just going to play football.”

Zimbabwe’s bid for a place at next year’s World Cup in Brazil has never gone into second gear.

The Warriors, who were under Rahman Gumbo, first lost 1-0 at home to Guinea before going to Maputo where they played out a 0-0 draw with the Black Mambas.

German coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels took over the side and presided over the back-to-back losses over Egypt and the 1-0 to Guinea in Conakry.

Zimbabwe, however, seem to have found their footing again under new coach Ian Gorowa after beating Mauritius and Zambia en route to qualifying for next year’s Chan finals.

Mambare is looking to build on that momentum.

“I think it’s a new game altogether. International matches are always difficult and they have pressure. This team will be playing Mozambique for the first time,” the Highlanders midfielder said.

“We are different from the other guys who have played Mozambique in Maputo. It’s a different game altogether.”

Despite recent success, the locally-based Warriors have been unimpressive on home soil with their Chan home leg matches against Mauritius and Zambia all ending in disappointing draws.

And the Warriors captain wants a sound performance today that will go a long way in winning admirers and pleasing their disenchanted fans.

“I think this time as players we know what’s as expected and we are going to absorb the pressure,” Mambare said.

“Many people think we have failed to win the last two games at home but it’s not like we have failed as such because the technical team has been happy with our performance.

“But talking from the players’ side I think at home it’s always difficult because of pressure from the supporters. But we are going to give our best.”

The Mambas’ of Mozambique also have no chance of catching runaway Group G leaders Egypt as they  just managed two points from five games.

“It’s still a very important game to us. We have done our homework and we are ready to face Zimbabwe,” Mambas coach Joao Chissano said.

“We respect Zimbabwe because they qualified for Chan and we know we are facing a good team. However we are looking for a positive result.

“We are ready for the big fight and we have been emphasising it to our players that they need to take this game seriously.”

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