By Godknows Matarutse
Khama Billiat has stressed the importance for the Warriors to be ruthless in front of goal when they take on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Kinshasa this weekend.
Zimbabwe resume their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group G qualifying campaign when they take on the Leopards at the Stade des Martyrs on Saturday evening.
The Warriors are already in Kinshasa and were scheduled to hold two training sessions yesterday morning and afternoon ahead of the crucial encounter which kicks off at 7:30pm local time.
It’s a defining phase for the Warriors as they will host the DRC three days later at the National Sports Stadium hoping to take full control of the group.
Sunday Chidzambwa’s charges head into the Saturday’s match sitting at the top of Group G with four points following a win over Liberia and a draw away to Congo in their first two matches.
DRC are in second with the same number of points but have an inferior goal difference compared to the Warriors after they beat Congo and drew with Liberia.
Billiat was on target when the Warriors held Congo to a 1-1 draw away in Brazzaville in their previous qualifying encounter last month.
After taking an early lead, the Warriors went on to dominate that match and created a number of good scoring opportunities which they failed to utilise.
Thievy Boufama punished the Warriors for their wastefulness when he netted a second half equaliser for Congo.
Billiat knows that it will be another tough encounter against the Leopards on Saturday in which the Warriors need to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to get any result.
“I think it’s going to be a difficult game just like the other games we always play,” Billiat said.
“I think most importantly, we have to try by all means not to concede and we have to try and get an early goal.
“What’s important is for us to utilise chances that we are going to have because at the end of the day, we have to create chances and focus.
“It’s going to be very hard so we have to do a lot of defending and I think the guys are ready, the coach has chosen the best squad for the job at hand.
“When playing away from home it’s always important to be clinical in front of goal when afforded an opportunity.”
Billiat added that while DRC boasts some exciting talent plying their trade in Europe, he has trust with the players picked to do duty by Chidzambwa.
“They have good Europe-based players in their team but we also have players that have been chosen and I believe the coaches have the best eye for whatever we are facing,” said Billiat.
“I believe with the team that has been called, we just have to work harder than DRC to get maximum points. It’s not going to be easy but we are going to give it our best shot.”
In picking his team to do duty this weekend, Chidzambwa settled for a relatively unchanged side that did duty against Congo last month.
Nottingham Forest defender Tendayi Darikwa is set to be handed his first competitive debut after acquiring his passport recently.
South Africa-based Ronald Pfumbidzayi is also set to be thrust at the left back after Devine Lunga was ruled out of the match with an injury.
Goalkeepers: Edmore Sibanda, George Chigova
Darikwa, Ronald Pfumbidzayi, Byron Madzokere, Teenage Hadebe, Alec Mudimu, Kevin Moyo
Midfielders: Marshal Munetsi, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Danny Phiri, Ovidy Karuru, Marvellous Nakamba, Talent Chawapihwa
Strikers: Knowledge Musona, Knox Mutizwa, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Khama Billiat. DailyNews