'Warriors will shine'

NETHERLANDS-based midfielder Marvellous Nakamba believes the current Warriors squad has the potential to be one of the best on the continent.

Zimbabwe will be heading to Gabon next year after qualifying for the continent’s biggest football showcase — the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

The Warriors are the lowest ranked team on the list of those who qualified for the Afcon finals.
But Nakamba, who has emerged as one of the key players for this qualification campaign, believes the current generation of players has what it takes to compete with the best in Africa but need to prepare well before the tournament.

“I think people realise the quality we have in this squad and we hope to do well in Gabon — we have to believe we can do well,” Nakamba said after their match against Guinea.

“I think very few people gave us a chance before we started the qualifiers but look where we are now.
“We have a strong squad with good players and with enough preparations I don’t think we have anything to fear in Gabon.

“The match against Guinea gave us an opportunity to gauge ourselves and I think we did our best but obviously there is a lot of room for improvement.

“We just need to have more friendly matches so that we can get used to each other as players.”
The Afcon finals will be preceded by a draw to be held in Libreville, Gabon, on October 19 which will reveal Zimbabwe’s opponents.

Kalisto Pasuwa and his technical team are expected to roll out their training programme, outlining their preferred camping bases in preparation for the Gabon finals.

Pasuwa has insisted on playing opponents from West and North Africa as they prepare for the finals.
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa has also assured both the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors of adequate preparations.

Zimbabwe’s trip to Guinea last weekend was chaotic after Zifa failed to secure flights on time to meet Sunday’s 7pm kick-off time.

The Warriors were facing the danger of being disqualified from the competition only for government, Zifa and NetOne to charter a plane from Air Zimbabwe at the 11th hour. Zimbabwe left the Harare International Airport on Saturday evening and arrived in Conakry early on Sunday morning, a few hours before kick-off.
The players did not have time to acclimatise or have a feel of the playing surface at the Stade 28 Septembre.
Come kick-off, the Warriors had a horrible first half as they struggled to cope with the tall grass on the playing surface.

The heat and humidity in the Guinea capital was also unbearable which greatly affected the Warriors’ performance as they lost 1-0 to the Syli Nationale.

Chiyangwa admitted his board had messed up the team’s travelling arrangements and assured the nation there will be no repeat of the same chaos in the future.

“We believe that we have drawn some important lessons both administratively and technically from this trip to Guinea, which should stand us in good stead as we now turn our full focus to the actual Afcon tournament in Gabon in January 2017,” Chiyangwa said.

“Our technical team will soon roll out their training programme also outlining their preferred camping bases in preparation for the Gabon finals.

“In this regard, I would like to assure the nation that we are working round the clock to ensure that the Warriors’ preparations for Gabon are as smooth as possible and this is despite the challenges that we are facing as an association in a tough economic environment.”

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