By Ricky Zililo
The Warriors will take a cautious approach and wait for an opportune time to attack when they take on Zambia in a 2019 Afcon qualifier in Lusaka this evening.
Zimbabwe are hard pressed for a positive result to get their qualifying quest back on track after a disappointing 0-0 home draw against Botswana last Friday night.
Interim Warriors’ coach Joey Antipas said they will not be careless and reckless to attack the wounded Zambians, who suffered a humiliating 5-0 thumping by African champions Algeria.
“One thing is that we can’t go without a strategy. We will go with a calculative approach because one thing for sure is that Zambia are wounded and we can’t attack recklessly. Zambia needs redemption and we have to keep things tight,” said Antipas.
“Look, against Algeria they conceded their first goal after 64 minutes against the African champions. We have got enough respect for the Zambians. We’re going out there to fight and to get a credible result. Each player needs to step up and give 120 percent,” he said.
What has impressed Antipas ahead of tonight’s encounter is that his players are in high spirits and he expects them to stand up against Chipolopolo in a match he predicts will produce fireworks.
“One thing we all know is the rivalry between the two countries. It’s friendly fire and friendly rivalry. We’re brothers, but one thing is that on the pitch this game always produces fireworks. We expect fireworks from the Zambians and we’ve got to be up for it,” Antipas said.
He admitted that poor decision-making in the final third against Botswana cost them a win and defended his decision to select skipper Knowledge Musona, who is yet to play a competitive match for his Belgian team.
“He may not be playing regularly for the first team at Anderlecht, but he is training regularly and he is playing games regularly for the reserve side. That’s what a professional player can be. Although we’ve been criticised as coaches for starting him because of lack of game time, we know that he can deliver and he retains the captaincy of the team. It’s just a matter of time before he delivers for us,” said Antipas.
Musona is expected to lead Zimbabwe’s attack, with Khama Billiat, Knox Mutizwa, Kuda Mahachi and Prince Dube fighting for a starting place.
Dube and Mahachi were introduced as second half substitutes against Botswana last Friday.
England-based Marvelous Nakamba and Marshal Munetsi, who plays in France, are expected to keep the team’s shape in central midfield and will be charged with breaking up Zambia’s attacks.
Teenage Hadebe and Aleck Mudimu will marshal the Warriors’ defence, with goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze guarding the sticks.
Zambia are desperate to salvage their campaign and interim coach Aggrey Chiyangi has called up the FC Red Bull Salzburg duo of Enock Mwepu and Patson Daka, who were on duty with the Under-23 side at the Under-23 Afcon finals in Egypt to beef up his side.
Chiyangi said they have been working on the players’ confidence.
“The most important thing is building the players’ confidence from the last game. It was a disappointing game and I’m sure the players are the most disappointed people because there’s so much more that they lost. Our job has been to encourage them and make sure they rise up and play against Zimbabwe.
“We have recalled some of the Under-23s. So far everything is ok, we’ve been observing players from the time we came back. Everyone will be ready to play. The Zimbabwean coach rightfully said we’re wounded. Certain things happened which we didn’t do well (against Algeria) and we’ve tried to correct them. We must avoid making as many mistakes as we can, especially in defence,” said Chiyangi.
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze, Simba Chinani.
Defenders: Ian Nekati, Cliff Moyo, Kelvin Moyo, Teenage Hadebe, Partson Jaure, Aleck Mudimu, Ronald Pfumbidzai.
Midfielders: Marshal Munetsi, Marvelous Nakamba, Butholezwe Ncube, Ovidy Karuru
Strikers: Khama Billiat, Kuda Mahachi, Knox Mutizwa, Knowledge Musona, Prince Dube.
Goalkeepers: Sebastian Mwange (Green Eagles), Mwenya Chibwe (Polokwane City-RSA), Toaster Nsabata (Zanaco).
Defenders: Lawrence Chungu (Zanaco), Stophila Sunzu (FC Metz), Clement Mwape (Zesco United), Tandi Mwape, Kabaso Chongo (both TP Mazembe), Isaac Shamujompa (Buildcon).
Midfielders: Rally Bwalya (Power Dynamos), Nathan Sinkala (TP Mazembe), Kelvin Kampamba (Nkana), Salulani Phiri (Polokwane City), Donashano Malama (Black Leopards), Augustine Mulenga (Orlando Pirates-RSA), Clatous Chama (Simba Sports-Tanzania), Bruce Musakanya (Red Arrows)..
Strikers: Evans Kangwa (Arsenal Tula-Russia), Mwape Musonda (Black Leopards-RSA), Lazarous Kambole (Kaizer Chiefs-RSA), Justin Shonga (Orlando Pirates-RSA), Enock Mwepu, Patson Daka (Red Bull Salzburg). The Chronicle