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AFCON 2021: Wadi implores Zimbabweans to rally behind Warriors

Warriors and JDR Stars forward Ishmael Wadi has implored the nation to rally behind the team ahead of their opening AFCON match with Senegal even though they are underdogs.

Wadi (28) is part of the Warriors’ final 23-member squad that was selected and entrusted by head coach Norman Mapeza to perform the national team duty at the AFCON tournament.

Zimbabwe were placed in Group B along with Malawi, Guinea and one of the tournament favourites Senegal.

Mapeza’s charges will take on Senegal in their opening game on Monday, square-off with sub-Saharan neighbours Malawi on Friday and lastly play Guinea next week Tuesday.

Though, the Warriors are playing the mighty Lions of Teranga in their first match, Wadi is ruthlessly convinced, him and his teammates might upset the 2019 AFCON finalists.

“I plead with everyone back home to try and support us whole heartedly, let’s do this as a nation, nothing is impossible. Rally behind us and trust us as we fight to raise the Zimbabwean flag higher.

“Yes! We are playing the Senegalese and we know they are strong but I am certain that with the squad we have here we can cause a surprise to the world,” Wadi said.

The former CAPS United talisman added that the Warriors are motivated with moral high in the camp and they won’t focus on the big names in the Senegalese squad.

“Everyone is talking about this game and people await to see how we will manage to play with the likes of Mane and Mendy who play in the EPL. We are not looking into big names, what’s important is to play our own game,” he added.

Wadi whose career made a sudden turn in five months time when he was previously plying his trade with financially struggling CAPS United, expressed his delight to represent Zimbabwe at the continental big stage.

“This is huge for me and l would like to thank God for this wonderful moment in my life, it’s a dream come true. Barely five months ago, I was at CAPS United playing in the Chibuku Super Cup and now I am part of the Warriors team in Cameroon doing the national duty.”

The forward also revealed his preparedness to face Chelsea keeper Edouard Mandy, although the player has now been ruled out with Covid-19.

The Senegalese goalkeeper is currently rated one of the world’s best goalkeepers after earning a number of accolades with the Blues, including the UEFA Golden Glove.

“He is a top class goalkeeper because he plays for Chelsea but l think it’s a good thing for me because l will be motivated to play against him,” the 28-year-old revealed.

“The good thing is we actually don’t know each other, so I have braced myself to play against him without any fear.” Nehanda Radio

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