Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mabika tips Warriors to break group stage jinx at AFCON 2021

Veteran sportscaster Charles Mabika has tipped Warriors coach Norman Mapeza and his troops to go past the group stages at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Cameroon.

The Warriors have a long lasting unpleasant record of failing to go beyond the group stages at the coveted nations cup on the occasions they have participated.

Since making their AFCON debut in 2004 then consecutively featuring in 2006, 2017 and 2019 respectively, Zimbabwe has always faced an early exit at the big stage.

Though despite all this, the country’s experienced commentator has entrusted Mapeza and his troops to break the ‘irritating’ lengthy jinx.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nehanda Radio, the broadcasting guru firmly said Zimbabwe will go through to the next round of the AFCON 33rd edition.

“I am sure we can break the jinx, even though we have failed to go past through group stages in the previous competitions,” Mabika said.

Mabika’s positivity and belief in the current Warriors squad comes after the team pulled an outstanding performance against a highly rated Senegal side on Monday afternoon in Bafoussam, Cameroon.

Unfortunately, the Warriors lost the match 1-0 to the Lions of Teranga after Liverpool star Sadio Mane scored from a late penalty awarded in stoppage time.

But the fact that Senegal depended on a spot kick in referee’s additional time to beat Mapeza’s side, brought a glimpse of hope to CNN as Mabika is also famously known.

He criticised Zimbabwe for giving Senegal too much respect particularly in the first 15 minutes of the match.

Nevertheless, he praised Mapeza and his assistants for later adopting to a well organised game plan up until the referee of the day Mario Escobar awarded what CNN described as a debatable penalty.

“Warriors gave too much respect to their opponents (Senegal) and they were all over us in the first 10 to 15 minutes. But afterwards Mapeza and his assistants organised their team very well.

“It was unfortunate that young Kelvin Madzongwe conceded that last minute penalty but he gave a good account of himself. I think the jinx can be broken, what we need to do now is to go on an all out war with Malawi and Guinea.

“We lost to Senegal but I still think the penalty was debatable because we did not see much replays from the VAR for the reasons best known by the VAR officials.

“My question is if it was the Lions of Teranga who had conceded that last minute penalty would the referee have awarded that penalty? The answer is clearly no,” Mabika added.

Zimbabwe are on zero points after defeat to Senegal and are left with two games against Malawi and Guinea, scheduled for 14 and 18 January respectively.

Moreover, Mabika made a prediction for the Warriors’ upcoming matches against Malawi and Guinea.

He predicted Zimbabwe’s victory against the former and a possible double chance (win or draw) when they face the latter in their last Group B match next week. Nehanda Radio