Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
ZIMBABWE international, Ronald Pfumbidzai, says the Warriors should look beyond defending their title at this year’s Cosafa Cup tournament.
The Warriors, who have won the last two editions, are set to begin camp on Monday in preparation for the regional football tournament as well as the upcoming Afcon finals in Egypt next month.
Pfumbidzai said the Cosafa Cup should be taken seriously since it affords the Warriors with a platform to finetune their game ahead of the Afcon jamboree set to run from June 21 to July 19 in Egypt.
Zimbabwe are in Group A along with hosts Egypt, DRC and Uganda. The Cosafa Cup tournament will begin next Saturday in Durban, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are assured of, at least, two games before leaving for Nigeria for a high-profile international friendly match against the Super Eagles on June 8.
“I think we just have to take the Cosafa Cup seriously because that is the time we have to gel. We will not get more time to do that since it’s unlikely that we will get more international friendlies between now and the Afcon tournament (apart from the Nigeria game).
“So we have to treat those games as friendlies and also use the opportunity to bond and work on our formations.
‘’Often, we don’t get these opportunities as a national team to get together and know each other better. So it’s a good platform since there will be competitive games.
‘’But we have to keep focused (on Afcon),” said Pfumbidzai.
The former CAPS United defender believes the upcoming Afcon tournament has come at the right time for his career and cannot wait to make his debut appearance if he makes the final 23 to represent Zimbabwe in Egypt.
The 24-year old defender was included in a 34-member provisional squad announced by Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa this week. Pfumbidzai played a key role in the later stages of the qualifiers and even scored a crucial away goal when Zimbabwe beat Democratic Republic of Congo to take control of Group G.
“The fact that I am part of the group shows the coaches have faith in me. So the most important thing is to continue proving I am worthy to be in this team.
“We have a strong squad that is capable of winning against any team on the continent. I can’t wait for the Afcon to start. I am looking forward to play.
“For some of us, this is the right time in our careers to blossom considering our ages. Our team is strong and well balanced,” said Pfumbidzai. Pfumbidzai has had a mixed bag of experiences on the pitch since his move to South Africa two years ago. But his club Bloemfontein Celtic faces extinction because of serious financial challenges.
“Sadly, we are hearing through the grapevine that the club could be sold but personally I didn’t have any problem with Celtic because my salary always came on time and I got all my signing-on fees without a hustle.
“So, we just have to wait and see what happens and then we take it from there. But as a player you just have to have a Plan B.
“Of course there have been three or four clubs that have made enquiries about my services but they communicate with my agent and the club.
“Maybe by the time we finish the Afcon tournament I will be in a better position to know because right now my agent has gone to South Africa.
“I think they are discussing but as for me, the season has just ended and I am not in a hurry. But what I know is I will play football next season in South Africa, not in Zimbabwe,” said Pfumbidzai.