Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS’ Cosafa Cup stand-in coach Rahman Gumbo says they go into this evening’s semi-final match against Zambia eager to progress to the final and lift the title as a dedication to grieving head coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who lost his father over the weekend.
Chidzambwa was given compassionate leave by Zifa so he could be with his family and Gumbo was tasked to head the dressing room for the remainder of the games, beginning with today’s tricky encounter against a vengeful Zambia at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa.
“Look, the head coach Sunday is eager to make history in this tournament and we have to do it for him. That will be a hat-trick of Cosafa Cup triumphs for him and we don’t want to spoil that,” said Gumbo.
He said they are taking the tournament very seriously since they are also using it to prepare for the Total Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
“Before coming here we had a meeting and agreed that we are coming here to defend our title and that mission hasn’t changed.
“We know that our opponents (Zambia) have always been our great rivals in the tournament and are not prepared to lose another match to Zimbabwe, but so are we; we are not ready to lose to them in this tournament,” said Gumbo.
Zambia were Zimbabwe’s victims in 2017, losing 1-3 in the final and were again on the receiving end last year, with the Warriors snatching victory from the jaws of defeat through a late strike by Tino Kadewere that forced the match into extra time.
Poster boy Khama Billiat then struck twice in extra time to seal a 4-2 victory.
The Warriors first lifted the Cosafa Cup in 2000 before registering their second name on the winners’ list three years later.
Their third title came in 2005 with the fourth coming in 2009. They then had to wait for eight years before bossing the region again.
Zimbabwe are likely to make some changes to the team that did duty against Comoros in the quarter-finals in a bid to give as much game time to other players as possible.
With big goalkeeper George Chigova ruled out of the opening Afcon match against Egypt, the coaches, who used Edmore Sibanda against Comoros, might throw in either Elvis Chipezeze or Talbert Shumba for today’s clash.