Warriors eye final

HARARE - Warriors full back Jameson Mukombwe has urged his teammates to give everything in their pursuit of a record sixth Cosafa Castle Cup title as they prepare for this evening’s semi-final clash against Lesotho at New Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa.

Sunday Chidzambwa’s charges progressed to the semi-finals at the expense of Botswana following a 3-1 victory during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-finals.

Goalkeeper George Chigova was the hero for the Warriors after saving three penalties.

Lesotho edged Swaziland 1-0 in their quarter-final clash to set a date against the Warriors in a repeat of last year’s semi-final which the defending champions eventually won 4-3 en-route to winning a record fifth Cosafa Cup title.

Lesotho is all that blocks Warriors’ path to secure a place in the final as they bid to retain the title they won last year and Mukombwe, who was outstanding against the Zebras on the right side is determined for a positive result this evening.

“We must have great motivation to retain our title. Now we have the opportunity to play in the final again for the second year in a row and we have the possibility to beat Lesotho and get to an important final,” Mukombwe told the Daily News yesterday.

“I think it’s important that we get it right inside regulation time unlike what we did in our semi-final clash against Botswana. We need to kill off the match and avoid going to the penalty shoot-out.

“If we play the same way we did against Botswana, I don’t see Lesotho standing any chance but we only need to convert chances that come our way. The good thing is that we are all motivated and looking forward to the match.”

Zimbabwe will be without influential skipper Ovidy Karuru, who has since been ruled out of
the tournament after suffering a bad injury in the quarterfinal tie against Botswana.

Karuru’s injury came as a huge blow to Chidzambwa’s plans as the Amazulu midfielder enjoyed a good game against Botswana and with a bit of luck and precision he could have got on the score-sheet.

However, in his absence Chidzambwa is not shot of replacements as he still has Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Richard Hachiro, Tino Kadewere and Leeroy Mavunga in his squad who can fill the void.

And once again Khama Billiat is expected to lead the Warriors attack alongside Evans Rusike.

Zimbabwe are chasing a record sixth Cosafa Cup tile after they were crowned champions last year following a 3-1 win against neighbours Zambia in the final.

Chidzambwa is using the Cosafa Castle Cup in preparation for the resumption of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in September.

In coming up with his squad, Chidzambwa noted that the Warriors were unlikely to have any international friendlies after the Cosafa Castle Cup, with the World Cup set for next week, and it was important he gets a look at his star players in competitive matches.

However, his plans were dealt a huge blow after several Europe-based players, who have been called for duty failed to make it for the tournament owing to complications with regards to their documentation while others were ruled out through injuries.

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