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Mhofu salutes fans, players

By Godknows Matarutse

Warriors coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa yesterday saluted fans for filling up the venue and rallying behind the national team as they dispatched Congo 2-0 to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals set for Egypt later this year.

Sunday Chidzambwa
Sunday Chidzambwa

The National Sports Stadium was filled to capacity and Chidzambwa’s charges did not disappoint with first half goals from Khama Billiat and captain Knowledge Musona sealing a comfortable victory for the Warriors and a place at the Afcon finals scheduled for June 21 to July 19.

The result meant the Warriors qualified as the Group G leaders with 11 points from six matches and were joined by the Democratic Republic of Congo, who dispatched Liberia 1-0 in Kinshasa to qualify as the runners-up.

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The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) had pre-sold tickets for the encounter with the cheapest ticket going for $10 while those for the VVIP were pegged at $200. Unfortunately, there was a glitch at one of the gates with the scanners resulting in a stampede and one person died in the melee.

“I would like to thank the supporters. They came in their thousands, they supported the team, they never jeered the team and I’m happy with that,” Chidzambwa said after the game. At that point, the Warriors coach had not been made aware of the unfortunate fatality at the gate before the game.

“Before we came here for the game, we dedicated this game to the Cyclone Idai victims and I think the game came our way,” he said.

Chidzambwa, who has now led the national team to two Afcon finals including the team’s first appearance in 2004, said the qualification was not down to him alone as players contributed to the cause immensely.

“We have some great players in our team. We also had some great players in our team when we qualified before like Peter Ndlovu, Adam Ndlovu (late), Ronald Sibanda, Joel Lupahla and I think it also applies to this group,” he said. “We have talented players, we never had any problems in camp, they are so disciplined, they play to instructions.

“I wouldn’t say it’s my magic to qualify, it’s also down to the players, they are doing well, they did well for the nation and I’m very happy.”

The Warriors came into the match needing just a single point to seal their place in Egypt and Chidzambwa revealed their approach was to get the needed result.

“…sometimes in football, you have to play for a result which we did, we played for a result. We played to qualify, we didn’t play to entertain and we qualified,” he said. DailyNews