ZIMBABWE re-launch their bid to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals with a date against Zambia on Tuesday evening, with coach Joey Antipas urging his charges to deliver “120 percent”.
This comes after the side’s Afcon ambitions took an early knock last Friday when they were held to a 0-0 draw by lowly-ranked Botswana in a Group H, 2021 Afcon qualifier at the National Sports Stadium.
The Antipas-coached side needs nothing short of a win against Zambia in Lusaka on Tuesday to get their campaign back on the rails.
“We are expecting fireworks from the Zambians, and we have to be up for it,” Antipas told journalists on Monday.
“We have to go in there with a calculated approach and keep things tight. For us to get a credible result, each and every player needs to step up their performance from Friday and give 120 percent,” he added.
Turning to his chief striker, Antipas said the Zimbabwe national football technical team had not lost faith in Warriors’ captain Knowledge Musona, amid growing concern over his lack of game-time.
Musona has so far failed to nail a place at his Belgian side, Anderlecht and was off colour when he led the attack against Botswana on Friday – a match Zimbabwe only managed two shot on target.
“It’s just a matter of time before he delivers for us,” Antipas said.
“He is not playing regularly for the first team at RSC Anderlecht, but he is training regularly, and he is playing games regularly for the reserve side. Although he has been criticised – even us as coaches have been criticised for starting him because of lack of game time – we know that he can deliver and he retains the captaincy of the team.”
Meanwhile, Chipolopolo, who were crushed 5-0 by defending Afcon champions Algeria on November 14, are eager to redeem their Afcon charge.
“We have to redeem and revive our qualification dream by beating Zimbabwe come Tuesday,” Chipolopolo coach Aggrey Chiyangi told Lusaka Times.
Zambia anchor Group H with zero points, and Zimbabwe are second tied on one point with Botswana while Algeria are top with six points from two wins.