Warriors go for win

WITH his side top of the group and playing at home, Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa wants Zimbabwe to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) by beating Congo this afternoon at the National Sports Stadium.

Zimbabwe sit on top of Group G with eight points from five games while Liberia are second with just a point behind with only one game to go.

The Democratic Republic of Congo are third with six points while Congo are bottom of the group with five points.
The group is still wide open as any of the four teams can still secure the two spots available for the finals to be held in Egypt next June.

A draw will be enough for Zimbabwe to qualify for their fourth Afcon finals but Chidzambwa is not taking any chances and wants his side to go out for the win.

“Any coach would love to win the game and I’m one of them; I would love to win this game but as you know in football, you can win, lose or draw,” he said.

“Both sides will be attacking but you have to attack and defend at the same time; we are not going to wait for them to attack us, we have to attack them first.”

Having led the group since match day one in 2017, there is a lot of expectation from the fans that Zimbabwe will beat Congo this afternoon and punch their ticket for Egypt 2019.
Chidzambwa is convinced his players will handle the pressure that will come from the fans and get the job done.

“I think most of these guys play abroad and I think they are now used to this kind of games and I think they will be calm for the entire 90 minutes; they will do well for the nation,” he said.
“I think our supporters are starved of victories; they must come in their thousands and rally behind the boys and help them win the match.”

Zimbabwe will be without central midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, who is injured and definitely ruled out of this afternoon’s game.
Although he will be a big miss, Chidzambwa hopes his side can cope with Nakamba’s absence.  
“Nakamba is a key member of the team and we are going to miss him, however, I think we chose 28 players and we have replacements. I think the guys who replaced him will do well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Red Devils coach Candido Valdo also has injury problems of his own as he will be without two of his star players for today’s game.

The Red Devils arrived in Harare on Friday afternoon without their top striker Thievy Bifouma and defender Baron Kibamba.
Bifouma suffered a ligament injury at his Turkish club Yeni Malatyaspor and did not make the trip to Harare.

The former Espanyol and West Brom forward was on target for the Red Devils in the 1-1 draw with the Warriors in the reverse fixture last year and will be a big miss this afternoon.
Kibamba has featured in the Red Devils’ last four qualifiers this campaign and will be another big miss for Valdo.

“Bifouma is the best scorer of the team, but he is not the only absent of size, Baron Kibamba is also missing in the call,” Valdo bemoaned the lack of the two stars.
“For Bifouma, it’s hard to find a player who plays like him, he’s unique; he has his own way of playing and taking the team forward.

“Whether it’s me or my predecessors, I’m talking about (Claude) Leroy, (Pierre) Lechantre or (Sebastien) Migne; we always adapted without him. When missing such a player, it’s hard to find another one like him, but the others also can do a few things for the team.”
The Red Devils still have a chance of reaching Egypt 2019 but that can only happen if they beat the Warriors in their own back yard this afternoon.

Valdo believes his team can get the result they are seeking and cause a monumental upset by defeating the home side this afternoon.
“We are ready for this Sunday (today), although we did not have enough work time because of the delay and the Fifa date that gives us not enough of time, but we are ready,” he said.
“We have offensive players like (Dylan) Bahamboula, (Merveil) Ndockyt, (Prince) Ibara, (Ulrich) Kapolongo or (Junior) Makiesse to win this game.”

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