Focus shifts to 2012 qualifiers

RUSTENBURG - ZIMBABWES archaic football calendar might prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Warriors as they start preparing for a 2010 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia on September 3.

With the first World Cup on African soil having come and gone leaving the continent once again nursing the kind of pain that comes with failing to produce a country capable of reaching the semi-finals much of the focus is now shifting to the gruelling qualifiers for the 2012 African Cup of Nations.

But while most football leagues around the world are set to begin next month, the Zimbabwean premiership is already in full swing after taking a one month break during the just ended 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Unofficial reports indicate that the South African Football Association (Safa) are currently engaged in talks with their counterparts at the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) with the hope of securing a friendly match ahead of the qualifiers.

South Africa have already secured a friendly international match against the Black Stars of Ghana, who will also use the match in preparation for the qualifiers.

South Africas Bafana Bafana eager to put their disappointing World Cup campaign behind them are in a very tough group G that also includes North African powerhouses Egypt, Sierra Leone and Niger. Group B will see favorites Nigeria competing against Guinea, Ethiopia and Madagascar.

The Super Eagles who failed to make an impression during the World Cup have made some wholesome changes to their football structures in the hope of returning to the glory days that saw them winning the African Cup of Nations in 1994.

Ghana are in Group I, where they will fight it out with Congo, Sudan and Swaziland while Didier Drogbas Ivory Coast will be looking to sail past a relatively easy group that also includes Benin Rwanda and Burundi.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon who were also one of Africas representatives during the World Cup are in one of the toughest groups featuring Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mauritius.

Zimbabwes 2010 African Cup of Nations (Group A) fixtures:

Cape Verde v Mali (Estadio da Varzea, Praia: September 3), Liberia v Zimbabwe (National Complex, Paynesville: September 3), Mali v Liberia (Stade 26 Mars, Bamako: October 8), Zimbabwe v Cape Verde (Rufaro Stadium, Harare: October 8), Cape Verde v Liberia (Estadio da Varzea, Praia: March 25 2011), Mali v Zimbabwe (Stade 26 Mars, Bamako: March 25 2011), Liberia v Cape Verde (National Complex, Paynesville: June 3 2011), Zimbabwe v Mali (Rufaro Stadium, Harare: June 3 2011), Mali v Cape Verde (Stade 26 Mars, Bamako: September 2 2011), Zimbabwe v Liberia (Rufaro Stadium, Harare: September 2 2011), Liberia v Mali (National Complex, Paynesville: October 7 2011), Cape Verde v Zimbabwe (Rufaro Stadium, Harare: October 7 2011).

Post published in: Athletics

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