HARARE – Warriors captain Ocean Mushure has asked for total commitment from his teammates as they begin their 2018 Kenya African Nations Championships (Chan) qualifiers with an away tie against Namibia this afternoon.
Sunday Chidzambwa’s charges, who are gunning for a fifth straight appearance at the tournament, designed specifically for players plying their trade in local leagues, face the Brave Warriors in the first leg at the Sam Nujoma Stadium while the return leg is scheduled for the National Sports Stadium a week later.
Mushure told the Daily News on Sunday that they were aiming for a positive start to the campaign by winning in Namibia, although they are not expecting to get it on a silver platter.
The Warriors are coming into the match at the back of a successful Cosafa Castle Cup campaign in South Africa recently, and the Dynamos left back said they needed to quickly forget about that achievement and focus on the task at hand.
“We need to go into the game with the right mentality and attitude. This is a new challenge and we need total commitment from everyone who will be selected to play,” Mushure said.
“Our triumph at the Cosafa Cup is now water under the bridge and what is important is to make sure we get off to a positive start in this campaign. It’s never easy playing away from home as you are aware that most teams are improving.
“So we are expecting a tough match against Namibia but we will do all we can to ensure that we get a positive result which I think is very possible.”
Chidzambwa retained the core of the team that won the Cosafa Castle Cup while adding some few faces to replace some of the foreign-based players, which Mushure believes has given them a strong foundation as there is continuity within the team.
Talent Chawapiwa, who is still eligible to play for the Warriors until his move to South Africa’s Absa Premiership side Baroka FC is completed, Liberty Chakoroma, Gerald Takwara, Raphael Manuvire, Prince Dube, Jimmy Tigere are some of the players who retained their places.
Chidzambwa roped in Black Rhinos goalkeeper Herbert Rusawo to replace George Chigova while also bringing in Dynamos defender Obey Mwerahari, Yadah defensive pair of Dennis Dauda and Jimmy Dzigai as well as CAPS United duo of midfielder Moses Muchenje and in-form striker Abbas Amidu.
There were also places for rejuvenated Dynamos midfielder Denver Mukamba, who replaced Ronald Chitiyo while his teammate Emmanuel Mandiranga and ZPC Kariba giant striker Francesco Zekumbawire also made the grade.
“I think we have quite a good side. We have been playing together at the Cosafa Cup and we now know each other better. There is some bit of continuity which is an added advantage for us,” Mushure said.
“We only need to go and work hard so that we can achieve the result that we all want. The good thing is that we all know what we want.”
FC Platinum hardman Takwara concurred with Mushure on the need to register an away victory but was quick to warn against complacency. Takwara was one of the standout players for the Warriors at the Cosafa Cup and a lot is expected from him.
“While we want a win we also don’t need to underestimate our opponents. There is no need for complacency at all,” he said.
“We just need to go there and make sure we do our job. We are all geared up, our spirits are high and if we can do the right things I don’t see anything stopping us from collecting maximum points.”
If the Warriors go past the Brave Warriors as largely expected, Chidzambwa’s charges will then take on the Comoros or Lesotho in the final qualifying round set for next month.
Zimbabwe have qualified for all four previous Chan tournaments since its inception in 2009 and are gunning for a fifth straight appearance at the competition.
Goalkeepers: Takabva Mawaya (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Herbert Rusawo (Black Rhinos)
Defenders: Ocean Mushure, Obey Mwerahari (both Dynamos), Devine Lunga (Chicken Inn), Jimmy Tigere (Harare City), Jimmy Dzingai, Dennis Dauda (both Yadah FC)
Midfielders: Moses Muchenje (CAPS United), Gerald Takwara, Talent Chawapiwa (FC Platinum), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Emmanuel Mandiranga, Denver Mukamba (both Dynamos), Raphael Manuvire (ZPC Kariba)
Strikers: Abbas Amidu (CAPS United), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Francesco Zekumbawire (ZPC KAriba)