Do-or die for Warriors

HARARE - The Zimbabwe national football team needs nothing short but victory against Tanzania in this afternoon’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at the National Sports Stadium.

With a two-goal margin victory needed to progress to the second round, the Warriors final preparations were disturbed after the players boycotted training yesterday over unpaid bonuses and meagre allowances.

The Warriors players were demanding the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to pay them $2 000 each if they beat the Taifa Stars this afternoon.

They were also asking for an upwards review of their daily allowances while in camp from $15 to $20 per day.

Warriors coach Ian Gorowa hoped to conduct his final training session with the team yesterday morning but had to abort his plans after the players refused to budge.

The players finally agreed to attend the last training session after around midday.

Efforts to get a comment from Warriors team manager Sharrif Mussa proved fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwasela painted a different picture last night.

“I have not received any reports from the technical team that the players had gone on strike. All I know is that the tem trained,” he said.

“The match is going ahead tomorrow and everything is in order. We now urge all fans to come in their large number to support the team on such a glorious and important occasion.”

This was not the ideal preparation that Gorowa would have wanted considering that today’s match is a crucial encounter.

Zimbabwe lost the first leg 1-0 in Dar es Salaam two weeks ago and need to win the second leg by a two-goal margin.

Failure to overcome the Taifa Stars lead will be disaster for the Warriors as it will mean the dream to qualify for the 2015 Afcon finals in Morocco is over.

It will be the fifth Afcon finals the Warriors would have missed after last reaching Africa’s premier football tournament in 2006 when the finals were held in Egypt.

It has been a few days to forget for the embattled Zifa after Tanzania were locked out of a local lodge on Friday night.

The Taifa Stars arrived at the lodged they were booked by Zifa and found that they could not access their rooms.

The Taifa Stars delegation was only allowed to get into their rooms after a meeting between Zifa president Cuthbert Dube and officials from Pandhari Lodge.

Turning on to this afternoon’s match, a number of the Warriors are confident that they will overcome the Taifa Stars.

“It will be a tough match but we are going to work as a team to make sure that we qualify for the next round,” stand-in captain Partson Jaure said on Thursday.

“We didn’t know much about Tanzania before the first leg but after that game we observed carefully how they play.

“You should not give them a lot of space. If we press them high up the pitch they will struggle to play their normal game.

“They also have some very fast wingers and we need to make sure that we monitor all their runs so that they do not get behind our defensive line.”

Gorowa now has a full complement of the players he had called up for the game except for the injured duo of Kuda Mahachi and Peter “Rio” Moyo.

Libyan-based forward Edward Sadomba arrived in the country on Thursday and is likely to be given a starting berth together with Tendai Ndoro and Cuthbert Malajila upfront.

Midfielder enforcer, Willard Katsande, who missed the first leg due to illness, has also been recalled into the team.

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