By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa yesterday challenged his players to put their heart and soul in their mission as they leave for Cameroon this morning for the final leg of their preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The Zimbabwe delegation were scheduled to leave in the early hours today.
Zimbabwe are in a tough Group B which also includes heavyweights Senegal, Algeria and Tunisia.
The tournament will run from January 14 to February 5 in Gabon.
Pasuwa said the underdog tag should not weigh them down.
“So far so good. We have been covering some areas where we felt we were coming short. All the boys that we called in the final 23, it’s only Khama Billiat who is not here as he is still in Nigeria (where he had gone for the CAF awards).
“We hope when we go tomorrow (today) everything will be okay.
“On the side of the players, we need to have enough patience with them.
“If we put everything in order maybe we can go and pull out a surprise. We need these boys to have the right attitude,” said Pasuwa.
The players were in good spirits as they were joined in camp by Matthew Rusike who briefly left camp this week to go to Tunisia where he concluded a three-year deal with giants CS Sfaxien.
The Warriors are now looking to link up with Billiat in Cameroon.
“Of course we had some setbacks. We had our plan which we wanted to follow but due to some reasons we couldn’t finish off some of the drills. But as a coach you have to come up with a training plan that suits the number of days that you are going to have.
“I believe we have done our part. Now it’s left for the few days that we are going to prepare away,” said Pasuwa.
Zimbabwe will spend five days in Cameroon where they hope to acclimatize with the conditions they expect to find in Gabon.
They play their last preparatory match against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Tuesday, which Pasuwa will use to gauge their level of preparedness for the tournament.
Pasuwa has named a fair squad which is led by Willard Katsande.
“I think this is the second game in our preparations that we have had the whole squad around. Remember we played Tanzania late last year.
“Playing Cameroon will make us see how best we could fare against these top teams in Africa.
“We have some utility players in the squad who can play in the midfield and upfront. Having such type of players in the squad is a plus for the coach where if you are playing instead of substituting you can just switch positions from attack to midfield. I think we are balanced. Everything is okay,” said Pasuwa Zimbabwe will open their campaign against Algeria without their midfield wizard Nakamba through suspension.
The former Bantu Rovers man has been penalised for the yellow cards he picked during the qualifiers.
“It’s unfortunate that we are missing Nakamba.
“As you know he has been one of our regulars when we were playing qualifiers. But it’s a challenge also to the other boys who were sitting on the bench.
“Again we have Danny Phiri who has been playing in that position also,” said Pasuwa. The Herald