HARARE – The Warriors will feel this is their moment to clinch a record fifth Cosafa Castle Cup title when they renew their rivalry with Lesotho in the regional tournament’s semi-finals this evening at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa.
The match kicks off at 7pm.
They meet in tonight’s semi-final knowing that either Zambia or Tanzania awaits the winner in the final — two teams that have obvious pedigree but are far from unbeatable which adds an extra dimension to this match.
On their way to the semi-finals, the Warriors started the tournament in the preliminary stages where they were in Group B alongside Mozambique, Madagascar and Seychelles.
Sunday Chidzambwa’s men began their campaign by registering an emphatic 4-0 victory over Mozambique with in-form captain Ovidy Karuru getting a brace while his deputy Ocean Mushure and bustling striker Blessing Majarira also chipping in with a goal each.
The second game ended in a disappointing goalless draw against Madagascar, albeit in controversial circumstances after the Warriors were denied two genuine penalty appeals by Botswana referee Joshua Bondo, who was duly sent home for incompetence following the dreadful officiating.
Chidzambwa’s charges then rounded their group fixtures with a resounding 6-0 win over Seychelles to secure their passage to the quarterfinals where they beat Swaziland 2-1 to progress to the semis.
The Warriors, who have won the regional tournament on four occasions alongside Zambia and South Africa, can keep their hopes of a record fifth title with a win this evening against a Lesotho side that reached the semi-finals after overcoming Namibia following a penalty shoot.
The Warriors have never lost a game to Lesotho in the Cosafa Castle Cup as they boast of five wins and one draw in six matches they have faced each other.
Zimbabwe and Lesotho have met 18 times in all competitions with the Warriors emerging victors on 13 occasions, drawing four times while losing once and Chidzambwa’s charges will be eager to keep that record intact.
Following his team’s win against Lesotho, Chidzambwa appeared not to underestimate their opponents as he chose to be modest ahead of the clash.
“I will only speak about the final once we play Lesotho. You never know with football, we might lose to Lesotho,” he said.
The Warriors will once against be looking forward to their skipper Karuru for inspiration.
The former Gunners and OH Leuve player is having a great tournament and has so far netted six goals to sit at the top of the leading goalscorers’ charts.
Karuru capped his Cosafa debut with a brace that helped the Warriors thump Mozambique 4-0 in their opening game of the tournament.
The 28-year-old followed that up with a hat-trick in the 6-0 demolition of Seychelles which helped Zimbabwe qualify for the quarter finals.
His sixth goal of the tournament came in the quarterfinals in a 2-1 win over Swaziland. His performances at the Cosafa Cup have seen him being named man-of-the-match twice.
Chidzambwa will also be hoping that Mushure continues with his rich vein of form which saw him netting three goals so far as well as being voted man-of-the-match in their last game against Swaziland.
Chidzambwa is spoilt for choice, especially going forward as he has the likes of Talent Chawapiwa, Knox Mtizwa, Majarira, Mitchell Katsvairo, Prince Dube and Raphael Manuvire who can hurt any defence on their day.