By Mugove Chigada in Franceville, Gabon
WARRIORS’ coach Callisto Pasuwa was adamant yesterday that Zimbabwe are favourites to progress into the knockout stages of the Afcon finals from Group B.
And tonight he will be seeking to prove his doubters wrong when they face Senegal in a crunch encounter.
Senegal dismissed Tunisia 2-0 in their opener and will qualify for the knockout stages if they collect maximum points tonight.
Pasuwa said the 2-2 stalemate against Algeria was no fluke and his charges had since grown in confidence.
“We as Zimbabwe have prepared very well to face Senegal.
“I think the draw has given us confidence considering that we lost all our opening games in previous Afcon finals,” said Pasuwa.
And for us getting a draw in our first match means a plus. This has given the boys better motivation to go and play against Senegal.”
He believes Senegal offer a different type of challenge.
“When playing against a team like Senegal, I have to be very brave on the ball and very aggressive. We will not let them play the same type of football like they do.
“You know our boys are small, so if we resort to long balls it will be against our boys. We need to keep the ball as much as we can for us to get into their third.”
He said there was no need for him not to be confident the Warriors will progress to the knockout stages.
“If a coach tells his players that we are not confident of beating Senegal, we will be defeated already. I have to tell them we will be on top and that is the confidence in our camp. Having confidence from people that have been watching us gives us a boost. Now I hope the boys will go the extra mile,” Pasuwa said.
He also revealed that Khama Billiat, who had been affected by fever after the Algeria game, is now in good health to play.
“It is not very serious. Just a cough,” said Pasuwa.
The Warriors were expected to train under floodlights in Moanda last night. The Chronicle