Tough Afcon 2019 road for Zim

HARARE - The Warriors will have to negotiate a difficult passage to be at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals after they were pitted in what appears a tricky group for the qualifiers.

According to the draw held on Thursday evening in Libreville, Gabon, the Warriors, who are preparing for their 2017 Afcon opener against Algeria tomorrow, were pooled in Group G alongside DR Congo, who are also at this year’s finals, Congo and Liberia.

Only one team from the 12 groups will earn a ticket to the continental’s biggest football showcase to be hosted by Cameroon in 2019. The hosts are guaranteed a place with three best runners-up also set to qualify.

The group is complicated by the fact that it features seasoned campaigners in DR Congo.

The Leopards boasts an intimidating record of 16 appearances at the tournament and have some of the best emerging talent on the continent like Everton’s Yannick Bolasie.

Congo are former African champions after winning the Cup in 1972 while Liberia has featured twice at the tourney but are also tricky customers who could derail Warriors chances.

This means the Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges will face a toll order to qualify for the tournament to be held in Cameroon.

But before Pasuwa and his charges could start thinking of the 2019 qualifiers they need to make a mark at this year’s edition which kicks off in Gabon today.

“I’m one person who wants to play first and do the talking later. In seeing our opponents of course there is a cause of concern but we just need to do our things right and everything will fall into place,” Pasuwa said.

“In seeing Congo Brazzaville and Congo they are good sides and well-funded as well but if we can do things correctly we can stand our own. 

“Liberia are also not a bad side and they should not be taken lightly. Football is improving and the lowly ranked teams are coming up slowly largely due to planning.

“We need to do better in how we do our things I think we need to learn from how we qualified for this year’s tournament.”

Draw in full:

Group A: Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Sao Tome/Madagascar

Group B: Cameroon, Morocco, Malawi, Comoros/Mauritius

Group C: Mali, Gabon, Burundi, Djibouti/South Sudan

Group D: Algeria, Togo, Benin, The Gambia

Group E: Nigeria, South Africa, Libya, Seychelles

Group F: Ghana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Kenya

Group G: DR Congo, Congo, Zimbabwe, Liberia

Group H: Ivory Coast, Guinea, Central African Republic, Rwanda

Group I: Burkina Faso, Angola, Botswana, Mauritania

Group J: Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Swaziland

Group K: Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Namibia

Group L: Cape Verde, Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho

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