Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Cairo, Egypt
WARRIORS’ coach Sunday Chidzambwa says victory against Uganda tomorrow is not negotiable if they are to achieve their desire of going through to the knockout stages for the first time in the Nations Cup tournament.
The two Group A sides started their campaign with two different outcomes; Zimbabwe losing 0-1 to seven-time champions Egypt at Cairo International Stadium on Friday night, while The Cranes shocked DR Congo 2-0 at the same venue on Saturday.
Uganda top Group A by a superior goal difference and a win tomorrow over the Warriors will secure passage to the knockout phase.
Chidzambwa knows fully well and appreciates that victory is the only objective Zimbabwe have to set their sights on.
“If we are to get to the next stage we have to beat Uganda and it’s high time we achieve that feat. I mean as far as I am concerned we are playing against 11 Ugandans,” said Chidzambwa.
He does not want to read much into the Ugandans’ stunning win over DRC, a team Zimbabwe met and beat in Kinshasa in the qualifiers, with the return leg in Harare ending one apiece.
“The fact that they beat DRC is water under the bridge. They have done well, but this is a new game altogether.”
The veteran coach, who revealed that he was once attached to Aston Villa in England, said they were aware that the Ugandans were a physical lot and they also have a deadly central striker, but was equally confident of the arsenal he has in camp, which he said could take on any team in Africa.
“They are very physical, they have a very good frontline, their left-footed right-winger and central striker are dangerous and we need to take care of them, but we have our own good players and from the way we played in the second half (against Egypt), I think we can take on anyone in Africa, I am not scared at all,” said Chidzambwa.
He hinted on possible changes, forced or otherwise, to the team that did duty against Egypt.
There were injuries to goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, brilliant on the night, while striker Nyasha Mushekwi sustained a knock and both players had to be pulled out, although Mushekwi’s substitution seemed more tactical than forced as he rarely troubled the Egyptians.
Possible changes might see George Chigova coming in between the sticks if Sibanda fails to recover in time, but the decision will be bold if the Witbank shotstopper gets certified fit by the doctors.
Evans Rusike or Knox Mutizwa might take the central striker position.