By Sports Reporter
WARRIORS captain Knowledge Musona says the absence of several key players, Zimbabwe have enough quality to get a positive result when they meet Botswana in their penultimate Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Francistown Thursday.
It emerged Tuesday that the France-based duo of Tino Kadewere and Marshall Munetsi are expected to miss the tie against the Zebras Thursday while ZIFA is still hopeful that the star duo will be available for the final qualifier at home against Zambia next Monday.
Zimbabwe’s preparations for Thursday’s encounter at Itani Chilume Stadium have been dogged by the absence of key players such as Marvelous Nakamba, Khama Billiat, Tendayi Darikwa, Divine Lunga, Knox Mutizwa, Prince Dube, Jordan Zemura, David Moyo, Admiral Muskwe, and Brendon Galloway due to combination of injuries and stringent Covid-19 travel restrictions in England.
The Warriors’ Croatian coach Zdravko Logarusic was forced to select seven uncapped players and several inexperienced players in his final squad of 21 players for the match against Botswana.
Musona, however, believes that the largely makeshift squad that has been assembled still has the ability to secure a positive result against Botswana.
The inspirational captain who has been in brilliant form throughout the current AFCON qualifiers and most recently for his Belgian club KAS Eupen said his charges would go into the match aiming for a positive result.
“I think we have to realise that this is a qualification game so sometimes no matter how you play, the result is the most important,” Musona said during a Press conference in Harare on Tuesday.
“We might not have some of the key players but we have the quality to come out with the positive result we need to win the game. We are all good players, like the coach said we are all not here by mistake but they (the new players) also have quality so I believe in each and every one who has been chosen to play, even those players on the bench might not have the experience but I believe that with the team that we have now we can match Botswana any day.”
Musona said despite some of the restrictions in camp due to the current Covid-19 environment, he has been doing his best to use the little time he has with his teammates to psyche them up for the big encounter n Francistown.
“We have some guys who haven’t played with us before and some are joining us for the very first time. It’s unfortunate that here where we are staying we cannot eat together as a squad we have to eat from our rooms. We just use the time we have at training to talk and get to know each other motivate each other and give each other confidence.
He added: “It’s very important for them to gel with the team quickly because there is no time. We will do our best to keep motivating and giving confidence to each other because that’s the best way we can get to know each other better.”
Meanwhile, Warriors coach Logarusic says he is expecting an open game against Botswana who will be aiming to collect all three points ahead of a tough away match in Algeria in their final qualifier.
“We will not underestimate no one but also it is not necessary to give our opponents too much respect. Secondly Botswana last time came here to get a draw, to get a result but now for sure it will be a completely different game. Now they will have to go all out for a win because they have to go to Algeria to get something.”
The Croatian coach said he was confident that his charges would cope with Botswana’s attacking approach as it will allow them to exploit their defensive weaknesses on the counter attack.
“If they play a more open game against us they will give us more space to show our speed, our individual quality and everything. However, we can’t be too confident let’s see how the new boys will react…There’s no reason for me not to be confident with the squad because when I look at them and speak with them I feel that positive energy and I’m hoping with some luck and help from God and our hard work we can do the job,” he said.