HARARE - Warriors defender Erick Chipeta is confident they can register back-to-back victories over Swaziland in the forthcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group L qualifiers.
The Warriors will plunge into battle with the Group L leaders first in Mbabane at the Somhlolo National Stadium on Good Friday.
Both sides do not have any time to recuperate as they are scheduled to meet in the reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Easter Monday.
With both matches separated by only 72 hours, it is going to require big effort from the Warriors if they want to wrestle control of Group L away from Sihlangu’s hands.
Swaziland sit top of the group with four points after an away win over Guinea which was followed by a home draw with Malawi.
The Warriors are in second place only on goal difference after beating Malawi in Blantyre before drawing 1-1 with Guinea in their last encounter last September.
“We need to adopt the right attitude and work hard to get six points against Swaziland. It will all depend on our approach to the game,” Chipeta told the Daily News.
“The good thing is that everyone is raring to go and I don’t see anything stopping us from getting positive results in these two matches. We have an exciting bunch of players who are eager to do well for the country.”
The Chippa United defender believes the Warriors have a good chance of topping the group to seal a place at the Afcon finals to be held in Gabon next January.
“I think we have a good chance of qualifying for the 2017 Afcon but it will get down to hard work from everyone involved,” he said.
“Most of the guys in the team are doing well at their clubs and we expect the same when we face Swaziland.”
Maritzburg United forward Evans Rusike also concurred with Chipeta, saying these two matches will have a huge bearing on the team’s chances of qualifying for Gabon.
“Just looking at our side, I think we have a good team capable of beating anyone but the important thing will be how we approach the match,” Rusike said.
“So far, the attitude is good and we are all looking forward to the game. I think these two matches will go a long way in shaping our chances of qualifying for the Afcon.
“If we can get six points in the two matches the better for us.”
Rusike, who was on target in his last match for the Team of Choice against Chippa at the weekend, said the Warriors should focus purely on Friday’s match.
“But, for now, we need to concentrate on the first leg on Friday.
“We are playing away and we need to go there with a positive mind,” he said.
“The fact that we are joint group leaders with Swaziland means we need to take them seriously.”
Meanwhile, Swaziland are confident they can continue with their good run in Group L and secure their ticket to Gabon at the Warriors’ expense.
Swaziland National Football Association CEO Frederick Mngometulu has urged the Sihlangu fans to fill Somhlolo on Good Friday.
“We urge all Swazis to come and support the boys as they battle with Zimbabwe in their quest to qualify for the finals to be staged in Gabon,” Mngometulu told the Swazi Observer.
“We are confident that the team will make us proud in both matches as the team has been in camp since March 14.
Sihlangu’s star player Mthunzi “Xavi” Mkhontfo, who plays for Democratic Republic of Congo giants AS Vita has also joined the squad.
“We hope the players will not pick any injuries as we want all of them to be available for selection on Friday,” Mngometulu said.