'Taifa Stars will fall'

HARARE - Zimbabwe are oozing confidence ahead of weekend’s 2015 African Nations Cup preliminary round qualifier away to Tanzania.

The Warriors are expected to fly out this Friday to face the Taifa Stars on Sunday at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Dar es Salaam as the journey to reach the Afcon finals in Morocco next year starts.

If Zimbabwe gets past Tanzania they will meet the winner of the play-off between Mozambique and South Sudan, with the winner of that tie set to reach the group stages of the qualifiers.

Warriors coach Ian Gorowa and his charges began their preparations for Sunday’s clash on Tuesday at Gateway High School in Harare.

Goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who has to contend for a starting place in the team with George Chigova and Munyaradzi Diya, is confident the team will get a positive result in Dar es Salaam.   

“We are expecting to win this game. Everyone and all players want to go to the Nations Cup,” said the University of Pretoria goalkeeper.

“But it’s going to be a tough game as we will be playing away from home. With the squad we have here I believe we will make it against Tanzania in Tanzania.

“We have to concentrate on this game and if we get past Tanzania we will then start to think of the other teams we are going to meet.”

Zimbabwe has failed to qualify for the last four editions of the Afcon finals with their last appearance coming back in 2006 when the tournament was held in Egypt.

Arubi, however, feels the Warriors have a good shot at booking a ticket to Morocco.  

“Each and every time we take part in these qualifiers our mission is to qualify,” he said.

“In football there are other factors that might stop you from reaching your goals. That is what happened in those years when we failed to qualify.

“With the way things are at the moment, all signs are pointing that we will qualify this time around. Everyone from the management, players and fans; the morale is high.”

Cuthbert Malajila, who is fresh from winning the Absa Premiership title in South Africa with Mamelodi Sundowns, is also confident of the team’s chances against the Taifa Stars.

“We have to believe as players. We are here training hard and the coach emphasised on what we are looking forward to achieve. We are not looking at Tanzania alone, but our focus is to get to go Morocco,” said Malajila.

“This is the starting point and we have to work harder than before if we are to get to go to Morocco.”

Another South African-based player in the squad, Tendai Ndoro of Mpumalanga Black Aces, said even a draw this weekend will not be a bad result for the Warriors.

“A draw or a win will be good for us in Tanzania and then we will come back and finish them off at home,” said Ndoro.

The former Chicken Inn forward is making a return to the national team after almost a year and is delighted with his reunion with the squad.

“I had missed playing for the national team. I last played for my country during the Cosafa Cup in June and I’m glad the coaches have shown faith in me,” he said.

“I hope I will continue to score goals for the national team like I was doing last year. I’m happy to be able to play again with my former teammates Danny (Phiri), Kuda (Mahachi) and the rest of the guys in the national team.”

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