This is my last chance: Katsande

HARARE - New Zimbabwe captain Willard Katsande is well aware that he is in his last chance saloon and hopes to help the Warriors qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Katsande, who was handed the Warriors armband by coach Calisto Pasuwa yesterday, is now fast approaching 30 and has never represented Zimbabwe at Africa’s premier football tournament.

The last time the Warriors qualified for the Afcon finals in 2004 and 2006, Katsande was still a teenager.

The 29-year-old will lead the Warriors for the first time when they begin their Group L qualifying campaign against Malawi in Blantyre on Saturday.

Katsande knows failure to qualify for the 2017 tournament in Gabon will mean he will end his career without ever gracing an Afcon final.

“For me this is my last chance to qualify for the Afcon finals because age-wise I’m heading towards 30,” said the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder.

“I need to give all my best to ensure the team qualifies for the Afcon finals this time around. I have had a chat with some of the senior guys in the team about this being our last chance of qualifying for the Afcon tournament.

“They all agreed that this is our last chance to represent our country at such a major tournament. We need to give one more last final push.”

The Warriors have failed to qualify for the last five editions of the tournament and Katsande has been part of that under-achieving squad.

“I have been with the team for many years and we have had some disappointments. However those disappointments make you a better person,” he said.

“We have learnt a lot from those mistakes we made in the past. We took some of the positives from those disappointments and try to build a future.

“We know we once walked the path and we now know the feeling of losing is painful and this time we don’t want to go through it again.

“We just need to have the support of the whole country and hopefully we will qualify this time around.”

On the Malawi game Katsande said: “I think it’s going to be tough but anyway as professional players we have to go there with a proper game plan.

“We need to be a bit cautious because we can’t go there and try to play an open game because they will be playing at home; they have an added advantage of the fans.

“I think we just have to frustrate them in their own back yard. How we are going to frustrate them is by keeping possession and being more defensive which will help kill time.”

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