07 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
GO WARRIORS GO! Zimbabwe will carry their two points from as many matches after two draws against Rwanda and Nigeria into their World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho today (Friday) and South Africa on Tuesday

The ManicaPost


Ray Bande
Senior Reporter

ZIMBABWE will carry their two points from as many matches after two draws against Rwanda and Nigeria into their World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho today (Friday) and South Africa on Tuesday.

Rwanda lead Group C standings on four points, with South Africa second on three point, while Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Lesotho are tied on two points apiece.

Benin anchor the log standings with one point in a pool where only the winners will make it to the 2026 World Cup, scheduled to be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States of America.

The Warriors will today face Lesotho at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg in a match they will be the home team, before facing South Africa away at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

Well-known football player manager and benefactor, Donald Manhende said the ZIFA Normalisation Committee did a good thing by giving Manica Diamonds coach, Jairos ‘JT’ Tapera the national team coaching job on an interim basis.

“Yes, giving a local coach like Jairos Tapera the national team coaching job was a good gesture, and he deserves it judging on his performance on the Manica Diamonds bench from last season to date.

“The team can do better in their campaign as they were given the opportunity to meet in time to assess the combinations. Talking of positive results in future, our national team should be led by someone (a coach) who is meant only for national duty, not by someone who serves as both a club and national team coach. We should be very professional on that front,” said Manhende.

Veteran sports administrator and team manager, Frank Bhunu, said: “Technically we are in. If you check the log we are on 5th position, but the points gained place us on third position, with the same number of points with Lesotho and Nigeria.

“But if we analyse the duels we had against Lesotho in the past, we are at an advantage. For South Africa, yes it will be more challenging, but the good thing is that we will play against them when we would have settled and jelled.

“Also, the appointment of the local coaches for these two matches was spot-on in terms of the different abilities that we know the three coaches have as individuals. They will surely complement each other.”

Staunch Dynamos and Liverpool fan, Munyaradzi Zinomwe said: “Despite playing home games away from home in South Africa, the Warriors might spring a huge surprise by beating both Lesotho and South Africa. The good thing is that we have a very solid and promising team led by the affable Jairos Tapera. The team is well blended, with a good mixture of experience led by Tino Kadewere and Marshall Munetsi as well as new and young blood in the British brigade led by Tawanda Chirewa of Wolves. With the peace and tranquillity in camp, I foresee a major victory for Zimbabwe.”

Lesotho are ranked 149th on the FIFA rankings, and have been in that zone for over a decade.
If the meetings between the two teams, especially in the COSAFA competitions are anything to go by, then Lesotho should not be a problem for the Warriors in their quest for a first win in the qualifiers.

It is actually a must-win game for the Warriors if they are to have destiny in their own hands when the qualifiers come to an end.

Comparing the squads at hand, the Warriors are far superior and that superiority should be converted to maximum points today at Orlando Stadium.

South Africa are a tougher opponent compared to Lesotho, and they are currently ranked 59th on the FIFA rankings, making them the 10th best team on the continent, while Nigeria are the top ranked team in the group as they are third on the continent and 30th globally.


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