Warriors arrive, get down to business

By Grace Chingoma

Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa will be looking more for a solid performance than the result when his charges face Cameroon in their last warm-up game ahead of their African Cup of Nations Group B showdown with Algeria.

Callisto Pasuwa
Callisto Pasuwa

The match kicks off tonight at 8pm Zimbabwean time.

Pasuwa and his troops arrived in Yaounde last night after travelling in batches to Addis Ababa where they regrouped before heading to Cameroon as one contingent.

The coach said despite the fatigue that comes with long hours of flying, he had arranged a workout at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo to ensure his charges prepare for tonight’s game.

The multi-purpose stadium hosted the Africa Women Cup of Nations finals matches and the Mighty Warriors played all their three group stage matches there before bowing out.

The Warriors touched down at Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport exactly 24 hours after departing Harare on Sunday.

“We tried without success to go to the Lowveld or Kariba so now we hope this weather here can help us to adjust,” said Pasuwa.

“In this game I am not looking much at the result.

“I will be closely assessing things like character, solidity of the team, defending in numbers, our transition from defence to attack.

“I want to also see our recovery positions-do we know where to go when we lose the ball then obviously defending set pieces,” Pasuwa said.

The coach would also be keen to see how the void created by the suspension of midfielder Marvelous Nakamba will be covered.

The Vitesse Arnhem midfielder is suspended for the first match against the Desert Foxes after accumulating two yellow cards.

The gaffer may find it difficult to find an able replacement considering that the Netherlands-based man had become a permanent feature in the team since he made his debut in the senior team in June 2015.

The former Bantu Rovers went on to feature in the rest of the qualifiers contributing immensely to the team as they booked their third qualification to the continental showpiece.

The coach has a number of options to try in that role where he can go with Danny Phiri or Oscar Machapa.

The last time the Warriors played together as a full unit was in November when they hosted Tanzania in an international friendly at the National Sports Stadium.

The Warriors gaffer will also closely monitor his star midfielder Khama Billiat who has had less training time with his colleagues.

The Mamelodi Sundowns man was given a rest by his coach following a busy season with his club where he played many competitive matches when the national team regrouped for the Nations Cup preparations.

Billiat briefly returned to training with his team mates for two days last week before departing for Nigeria to attend the Caf awards where he was voted the African Player of the Year Based in Africa first runner up.

But the coach will assess how the former Ajax Cape Town player is faring since featuring at the Fifa World Club Championships in Japan last month.

The exciting attacker and Knowledge Musona have been splashed in promotional posters alongside key Indomitable Lions players in the advertising material that have been produced by the Cameroon Football Association to promote the match.

The hosts are expected to return to Yaounde this morning ahead of the game as they have been camped in the neighbouring Equatorial Guinea.

The former champions flew to Malabo immediately after their friendly match against Democratic Republic of Congo for a five days training camp.

Cameroon are in Group A together with the hosts Gabon, Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau. The Chronicle