Cuthbert Malajila embraces Zimbabwe’s underdog tag
By Lovemore Moyo | Kick Off |
Zimbabwean forward Cuthbert Malajila believes the underdog tag will work to their advantage at the AFCON finals next year after The Warriors were thrown into what appears to be a crocodile infested pool.
Carrying the hopes of Southern Africa as the only representative from the COSAFA region The Warriors will have to deal with three of the four top ranked nations on the continent in order to get into the knockout stages.
Senegal – ranked second, Algeria (third) and Tunisia in fourth will be the opponents that Zimbabwe – who are down in position 34 on the latest CAF rankings – have to deal with in a difficult Group B.
“When you qualify for the Nations Cup finals you cannot expect easy teams because all the teams that qualified must be respected. So the draw is fine with me and we cannot be complaining because it was always obvious it will be tough,” Malajila tells KickOff.com.
Having been pressed with other commitments last night the Bidvest Wits forward only got to know about the draw this morning as he woke up.
“It is a good thing that the draw was done now because it gives us all the time to then watch all our group opponents playing in the next round of World Cup qualifiers next month,” says Malajila.
“As the lowest ranked nation at the tournament we will obviously be carrying the underdogs tag which we must use to our advantage because some teams will underestimate us. That then gives us the chance to bite them unaware. We are brave enough to take on this challenge.”
With preparation often Zimbabwean football’s achilles heel following what was a disorganised qualifying campaign that started with a chaotic overnight road trip to Malawi and ended in muddled flights to Guinea – that is where Malajila’s concerns lie.
“We just need to prepare well. With better preparations than what we have grown accustomed to in recent times I believe we have a crop of players that can deliver the goods. Truth be told we are all professional players just like the players that we will be coming against and all that is needed is to be a well prepared team. I believe we will compete at the AFCON finals and stage upsets, it was not a fluke that we qualified,” he says.