Katsande wants focus

HARARE - Warriors midfielder Willard Katsande is relishing his return into the national team and was quick to warn his teammates about the need to stay focused ahead of the crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia on Sunday in Monrovia.

Katsande, who was handed his first call up back to the national side in almost two years having called time on his international career in the wake of Warriors’ early exit from the 2017 African Cup of Nations finals wants the team to stay focused qualifying for next year’s finals.

“I think it’s the final hurdle for us because a point will take us through but we don’t need to play with that in mind. Our approach should be the same as in the previous matches,” Katsande told the Daily News from his base in South Africa. 

“We need to stay focused and concentrate throughout the match. It’s known that if you perform well you are bound to get positive results. So it is our duty as players to step up and execute our game plan well and apply ourselves so that we get the job done.”

Warriors currently sit on top of their Group G with eight points from four matches while the DRC are on second with five points from same number of matches with Congo and Liberia tied on four points after same number of matches.

Sunday Chidzambwa’s charges are in good stead to qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals to be held in Cameroon next June-July as they need a single point from the remaining two matches against Liberia (away) and Congo at home.

A win against Liberia on Sunday for the Warriors will seal qualification for the first Afcon tournament that will feature 24 teams up from the usual 16 participants.

The Warriors’ campaign started with an impressive 3-0 win over Liberia in the opening match of the qualifiers.

Belgium-based forward Knowledge Musona scored all the three goals that afternoon at the National Sports Stadium when FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza was in interim charge of the national side.

However, Katsande was quick to remind his teammates to forget about that match and expect a tough game away from home.

“Going into our game against Liberia, I think it’s not going to be an easy match. We don’t need to be flattered by the first leg result in which we beat them at home.
They will be playing at home, backed by their own fans and obviously they will not make it any easy for us,” he said.

The Kaizer Chiefs midfield enforcer added that he is ready to play his part if selected to play while tipping the team to succeed given the quality in the team.

“I’m ready to give my best if selected to play. It’s always a good feeling to be back in the team, it means a lot to represent your country,” Katsande

“I think we are a relatively talented side with everything. We have speed; we have skill, experience and quality. We have players with endurance and stamina and I think it’s only a question of us getting the job done on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the technical team and the locally-based players of Rodwell Chinyengetere and Kevin Moyo were expected to leave the country last night en-route to Johannesburg, South Africa, were they will link with their counterparts in Mzansi before connecting to Liberia via Kenya and Sierra Leone and should arrive in Monrovia this afternoon.

The Europe-based trio of defender Alec Mudimu (Wales), skipper Knowledge Musona and midfielder Marvelous Nakamba (both Belgium) are also expected to arrive in Monrovia this afternoon from their bases.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs)

Defenders: Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu), Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Rodwell Chinyengetere (FC Platinum)

Strikers: Evans Rusike (SuperSport United), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC)

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