Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Heavyweight friendly clashes for Warriors

By Ricky Zililo

Five countries have expressed a desire to play against the Warriors as part of their preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals that kick-off in Egypt in June.

WE’VE DONE IT . . . soccer fans bask in the glory of the Warriors qualification for the 32nd African Cup of Nations finals
WE’VE DONE IT . . . soccer fans bask in the glory of the Warriors qualification for the 32nd African Cup of Nations finals

The continental football showpiece, whose number of contestants was increased from 16 to 24 nations, will be held from June 21 to July 19.

Zifa president Felton Kamambo said they had already secured a friendly match against South Africa.

Kamambo also revealed that Nigeria, Ghana, Tunisia and Egypt had tentatively agreed to play friendly games against the Warriors on condition that they are not drawn in the same group tomorrow at Caf headquarters in Egypt tomorrow.

“There are plans that we had made even before we played our final qualifier against Congo to give the Warriors adequate preparations for the 2019 Afcon finals. After the draw, we will organise friendly matches and we have quite a number of teams that we’ve arranged to play with. One of them is Nigeria and the other one is Ghana. We are supposed to play Ghana in Dubai and Nigeria are supposed to come here if we’re not in the same group. Tunisia and Egypt are also prepared to play some friendlies with us,” said Kamambo.

“South Africa and us have a mutual understanding and our two teams will play a send-off match in South Africa before we go to Egypt.”

Zifa are trying to give the Warriors proper preparations following the monumental failure to adequately prepare for the last Afcon finals held in Gabon.

The Warriors only played one friendly match against Cameroon and failed to go beyond the group stages, while the Indomitable Lions went on to win the title.

For the June finals, the 24 nations have been divided into four pots based on the Caf national team rankings and will be drawn into six groups of four teams for the first round of the tournament.

The top two teams from each group along with the best four third-placed teams advance to the round of 16.

Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa and manager Wellington M’pandare are representing Zimbabwe at the Caf draw.

2019 Afcon draw seeding

Pot 1: Egypt (hosts, assigned to A1), Cameroon (title holders), Ghana, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Senegal

Pot 2: Morocco, Nigeria, Algeria, Guinea, Mali, DR Congo

Pot 3: Uganda, South Africa, Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe, Angola, Burundi

Pot 4: Mauritania, Namibia, Benin, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania. The Chronicle