Tall order for The Warriors, but not impossible

The Zimbabwe Warriors are on the back foot, but that does not mean they have been condemned.

Ian Gorowa
Ian Gorowa

The weekend loss to Tanzania in the first qualifying round of the 2015 Afcon finals showed that even Ian Gorowa’s team cannot be trusted and left Zimbabwe with a difficult task ahead, but one that can still be achieved.

Make no mistake, losing to Tanzania, even by a solitary goal away, is a big drawback that casts doubt on whether the 2015 dream can still be achieved. At 98th in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, Zimbabwe are 24 steps ahead of the East Africans, so they should have made light work of their opponents, or at least drawn against them. Yet they succumbed to John Raphael Bocco’s solitary strike in the 13th minute of the game.

Yet in Africa, it is common practice that the away team usually loses, with even the likes of Cameroon having previously lost to as lowly opposition as Ethiopia, and Nigeria having previously drawn against weaker opposition like Mozambique.

Those who still believe in the dream will tell you that overturning the one-goal deficit at home cannot be viewed as that arduous a task at the National Sports Stadium, where little Tanzania will be defeated by the big crowd before even the first whistle. All Gorowa needs to do is select the strongest squad he can lay his hands on and deploy a lethal frontline that will easily achieve the two-goal margin win Zimbabwe desperately needs, and all shall be well.

It is likely that Warriors stars Willard Katsande and Khama Billiat will be back to full fitness when the two sides meet again in a fortnight, as they make the final push to the next round. The winner will most certainly meet Mozambique, who thrashed South Sudan 5-0 at the weekend.

With divine intervention, even star striker, Knowledge Musona, could be back to boost Zimbabwe’s chances of making it past an otherwise lowly Tanzania. But the work begins now. In a normal footballing world, The Warriors would not break camp on arrival home, but continue to find the most suitable of combinations to use and even play a friendly game or two, while Zifa tries to strike a deal with some of the European clubs for the release of some of the players the coach needs for the return leg of this fixture.

The Premier Soccer League would also play ball by cancelling all league fixtures to pave way for the national team, to avoid injuries to some of the key Warriors players. But Zimbabwe is not a normal footballing environment and Gorowa will still have to beat all odds to achieve the results.

Post published in: Football

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