By Tadious Manyepo
Warriors defender Alec Mudimu has told his teammates not to be intimidated by the high-profile status of some of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s players when they face the Central Africans in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in Kinshasa on Saturday night.
The two teams will then meet again at the National Sports Stadium, three days after the big battle.
The back to back encounters could also see the Warriors repeat their feat two years ago when they qualified for the Gabon edition of the Nations Cup with a game to spare.
Zimbabwe top group G on four points, the same as their opponents on Saturday but are on the apex of the four-team log by virtue of their superior goal difference.
Liberia and Congo Brazzaville have one point apiece.
Whilst DRC boasts of such big names as Arthur Masuaku who plies his trade in the English Premiership with West Ham along with an array of others who are dotted around the world, Mudimu said the Warriors should not read much into that as they were determined to get the maximum points on Saturday.
“People might say that the Democratic Republic of Congo have some of the best players who ply their trade in the top leagues in the world but this is football, you have to realise that,” said Mudimu.
“We believe in our capabilities, we are not intimidated by the stature of the DRC. Of course we have to respect our opponents but that is not to say we fear them.
“We want to win the match as much as they want it so it will be a game of two teams, trying to outwit each other.
“It’s a case of equal number of players from each side trying to work out a formula to outmanoeuvre each other. We might be respecting some of the players in that squad but this is about qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations.
We are on top of the group and we would like to maintain that place so the only way to do so will be by beating the DRC,” The CEFN Druids man predicted a tough match against the Congolese but insisted the Zimbabweans will do well to get a result.
“The match will obviously be tough, we are playing away from home, where the environment will not be easy for us as the visitors because the home fans will be rooting for their team.
“But, this is not just like any other game, it’s a dance with destiny. Some of us have never been to the AFCON finals and we would like to help the team secure qualification for the prestigious tournament.
“Of course the opponents have some of the top players playing in top European leagues like the English Premier League but there is nothing more special which they can do which we cannot,” Mudimu said.
Although the DRC will have such big-name players like Yannick Bolasie, Zimbabwe also boasted of talented players like captain Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and Marvellous Nakamba who can single-handedly deliver for the Warriors.
“We have what it takes to beat the DRC. With great players like Knowledge (Musona) in the fold, we are hopeful to secure a win away and consolidate our position on top of the log.
“Some of our players like Khama (Billiat), Marvellous (Nakamba), Tendayi (Darikwa) and Ovidy (Karuru) are top-notch and we can match the opponents well on Saturday.
We are going out there to push for a win which should put us in good stead as these qualifiers move on.” Mudimu was also happy with the shift they had put at training before flying out to Kinshasa.
“I really liked the intensity of the training. It was really necessary and we can get some time to relax on the flights and pick up again when we get there,’’ Mudimu said. The Herald.