By Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Sunday Chidzambwa has expressed his satisfaction with his squad ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group G top-of-the-table qualifier against DR Congo in Kinshasa on Saturday despite the absence of several key players due to injuries.
The Warriors held their first and only training session on home soil at the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday morning ahead of their back-to-back clash with the Congolese Leopards on Saturday and in Harare three days later.
Chidzambwa, who is seeking a positive result in the qualifiers, was however still awaiting the Belgium based duo of Knowledge Musona and Marvelous Nakamba who were expected to arrive just before the team’s departure for DRC last night.
Zimbabwe were dealt a major blow ahead of their departure for the Central African country after regular left-back Devine Lunga sustained an ankle injury while in action for his South African club Golden Arrows on Sunday.
The former Chicken Inn player joined SuperSport United striker Evans Rusike, and Tinotenda Kadewere of French League 2 side Le Havre who are also unavailable due to injuries.
Chidzambwa has also had to make do without Czech Republic-based defender Costa Nhamoinesu and in-form China-based forward Nyasha Mushekwi, who have made themselves unavailable for national duty although they have been playing regularly for their clubs.
The legendary former Dynamos coach however expressed his satisfaction with the fitness levels of the available players before backing Bloemfontein Celtic defender Ronald Pfumbidzai to fill in the void which has been left by Lunga.
“I think from what I have seen the guys are fit,” Chidzambwa told reporters after the team’s training session.
“We are still waiting for Knowledge and Nakamba who are due to arrive this afternoon and hopefully we are going to have a fit squad. We want to play and bring a good result for the nation.
“Injuries happen in football and I think we have enough cover for Devine Lunga. Remember we have Ronald Pfumbidzai and also many central defenders who are left-footed so that’s enough cover for us. If a defender is left-footed he can easily play the left-back,” he said.
Chidzambwa said it was important for his charges to get a positive result against DR Congo in order to enhance their chances of qualifying for next year’s continental showpiece.
“I think the game is very important to us; as for us it’s a decider. If we can pull through a good result in DRC, I think we would be on the verge of qualifying. Anything further than a good result means we have to fight hard in the second leg but it would be better for us to get a good result away from home and that would make life easier for us if we play them at home,” said Chidzambwa.
“First of all we have to be cautious at the same time if we are to have a good result we have to attack and defend well. If we have ball passion we have to attack, if we lose possession we have to defend as a team,” he said.
Despite the injury absentees Chidzambwa will still be spoilt for choice when it comes to selection as he welcomes back into the squad Nakamba and Ovidy Karuru, who both missed the trip to Brazzaville due to injuries.
England-born Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa is also in the squad after he secured his Zimbabwean passport and is expected to provide another option on the right side of defence.
The Warriors, who top the group due to a superior goal difference, will need to collect at least four points from the upcoming matches against DRC to stand a good chance of qualifying for the finals next year.
Top two teams from this group, which also has Liberia and Congo Brazzaville, will book a ticket to the finals, set for Cameroon in January.
Goalkeepers: George Chigova, Donovan Bernard, Edmore Sibanda
Defenders: Tendayi Darikwa, Alec Mudimu, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Teenage Hadebe, Kevin Moyo, Eric Chipeta, Byron Madzokere
Midfielders: Marshal Munetsi, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Danny Phiri, Richard Hachiro, Leeroy Mavunga, Ovidy Karuru, Marvelous Nakamba
Strikers: Khama Billiat, Talent Chawapihwa, Knowledge Musona, Terrence Dzukamanja, Knox Mutizwa