Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
A group of Warriors’ fans leave Bulawayo for Zambia this morning confident that the senior national team will stun Chipolopolo in an Afcon qualifier in Lusaka tomorrow.
Zimbabwe had a false start to the 2021 Afcon qualification campaign after being held to a goalless draw by Botswana at the National Sports Stadium on Friday.
The Warriors face wounded Zambia, who were thrashed 5-0 by Algeria, in a match they can’t afford to lose if they still harbour hopes of qualifying for the continental showpiece.
The fans felt Friday’s draw against Botswana, a side that many were expecting Zimbabwe to run over, was a wake-up call for the Warriors.
“We’re going to Zambia on Monday morning to rally behind the boys. I think they’ll play better after that shady show at the National Sports Stadium.
“The draw against Botswana was a bitter pill to swallow and now the boys have to go a gear up to get the campaign back on track. I’ll say this is a make-or-break fixture for us because if we lose, we will be left with an uphill task.
“However, I’m positive that we will win in Zambia,” said Trust Jim, the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association (ZNSSA) Southern Region secretary.
He said the group that travelled to Lesotho for Zimbabwe’s Chan qualifier last month has been joined by other fans for the Zambian trip.
“Guys from Beitbridge, Masvingo, Zvishavane and Gweru are linking up with Bulawayo-based supporters for the trip. We will leave via Chirundu, spend the night in Zambia, then immediately after the game on Tuesday we hit the road.
“Besides us organising the trip for Southern Region fans, there’s also a bus that has been organised in Harare which will leave on Tuesday morning. So this time around we’ll have a bigger number travelling to cheer the boys. Let’s hope the Warriors will repay us by winning,” Jim said.
Sidumisile Ntini, who is part of the traveling supporters, said: “What is key is for the coaches to start a strong team and be direct in attack. We need to see players taking long range shots on goal like what Prince Dube did when he was introduced against Botswana. I also feel Kuda Mahachi should start because he gave us the speed we needed on the wings. I’m sure we will win.”
Divine Msipha said the Warriors should know that they carry the hopes of the nation.
“That we didn’t have adequate preparations and didn’t play friendly matches mustn’t be an excuse for the poor performance. We want the Warriors to stand up and be counted. We have a good pool of players capable of winning and bringing joy to the people of Zimbabwe,” Msipha said.
After the Zambia trip, the Warriors’ next match is against Algeria on August 31, 2020. – @ZililoR