ZIFA rallies Warriors to upstage African Champions
Zimbabwe Football Association has rallied the Warriors to dig deep to produce a positive result against African Champions Algeria in the first of two back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on the shores of the Mediterranean tonight.
The Warriors face Algeria tonight at 9pm local time at 5 July 1962 Stadium in Algiers, and four days later at the National Sports Stadium Harare.
The Desert Foxes are unbeaten in their last 20 games in all competitions in a period stretching two years.
Algeria tops Group H with maximum six points, two more than Zimbabwe. Botswana and Zambia follow with one and zero points respectively.
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said despite challenges arising from the negative effects of the heinous corona virus, the association had “managed to put together decent processes to ensure that our team goes to compete against the best in Africa.”
“We went all out to ensure that the team gets the comfortable environment to prepare for such an encounter, notwithstanding the obstacles that came our way. Our preparations for the game today began way back in October when we organised a preparatory match with Malawi. That match did not exactly happen the way we envisaged because of late approval from government, but it still gave the technical team and players a glimpse of the work that needed to be done,” he said.
“Indeed, there are challenges, but in this moment we choose to focus on the task of competing against Algeria and getting a good result. We are confident that the team will make the nation proud tonight.”
ZIFA appealed to stakeholders to keep supporting the country’s flagship team.
“It is unfortunate that on the 16th of November supporters will not be allowed to watch at the stadium due to covid-19 restrictions, but we still need support from everywhere as the match will be broadcasted,” Gwesela said.
“We are also hopeful that very soon supporters will be allowed to watch games in the stadium.”
Meanwhile, the senior women team which participated in the 2020 edition of the COSAFA Women Championship in South Africa is now back in the country.
“Although, they were eliminated in the group stages, we are proud of great work demonstrated by these women,” Gwesela said.
“As an Association we were using this tournament as route for the resumption of football activities. The Women represented the nation well and considering that approval for training came late and did not have enough time to prepare for the tournament. The Executive takes pride in the emancipation of women through football.”
Warriors First XI for tonight’s 2021 Afcon qualifier against Algeria
Elvis Chipezeze, Tendayi Darikwa, Divine Lunga, Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu, Jordan Zemura, Marvellous Nakamba,Ovidy Karuru, Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat, Tino Kadewere