Afcon journey begins

HARARE - Zimbabwe are confident of emerging with a good result from Sunday’s 2015 African Nations Cup preliminary qualifier away to Tanzania.

The Warriors take on the Taifa Stars at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. The match is scheduled to kick-off at 3pm local time.

This is the beginning of the long road to Morocco next year where the Warriors hope to be part of the 16 teams taking part in Africa’s premier international football tournament.

Zimbabwe coach Ian Gorowa did not have much time with the squad as they began their preparations for today’s match last Tuesday in Harare at Gateway High School.

Gorowa’s plans were thrown off the rails when stars players Willard Katsande and Kingston Nkhatha pulled out of the squad for different reasons.

The withdrawal by the Kaizer Chiefs pair did not dampen the Warriors spirits with the bulk of the squad coming in from the group that achieved a fourth place finish at this year’s African Nations Champions (Chan) tournament in South Africa.

Zimbabwe arrived in Dar es Salaam on Friday evening after leaving Harare in the afternoon with Gorowa choosing to travel with a squad of 18 players.

Warriors utility player Milton Ncube, who can be deployed in a fullback position or upfront, was oozing with confidence before the teams’ departure on Friday.      

“We are confident of bringing back a good result from Tanzania,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.

“Our preparations have been going on well since we got into camp last Sunday. Considering that most of the guys were here for the African Nations Championships (Chan) it was not that difficult to prepare for this match in a short space of time.”

The Highlanders player is well aware of what is at stake in today’s match and was also cognisant of the fact that the Warriors need to play it safe without employing an expansive approach.

Back by their home support the Taifa Stars, who are beginning life under Dutch coach Mart Nooij, will throw everything at the Warriors.

“I think it’s the most import game of this year. We need to kick start this campaign on a winning note. We have to go to Tanzania and come up with a good result,” said Ncube.

“A win for us will be a good result. Even a good result will be fine for us considering that for the second leg we will be playing at home.

“We are ready to attack on the counter since we are playing away from home. They are going to come at us so we will have to be cautious.”

Gorowa also preached a game of caution and trying to catch Tanzania on the break.

“It’s important that we do not concede away. They are playing at home and they will obviously come at us so it’s important that we repel their attacks and catch them on the break,” he said.

“They have two very quick wingers but their two centre backs are slow. We saw that when we played them the last time, so that’s basically what we are trying to work on, to hit them on counter attacks because of their slowness at the back.”

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