Ray Bande Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWE will know the identity of their opponents in the Total Africa Cup of Nations 2019 by end of day today (Friday) and domestic football coaches believe that the Warriors must be prepared to compete against any of teams that qualified. The draw for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals will be conducted today at a historic place facing the Sphinx and the Pyramids, near Cairo in Egypt.
Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa and team manager Wellington Mpandare left the country on Tuesday for the draw.
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo and the football body’s board member for competitions Chamu Chiwanza are set to join the duo in time for the draw tomorrow (Friday).
Castle Lager Premiership champion FC Platinum and former Warriors coach Norman Mapeza said by virtue of having qualified for the tournament, Zimbabwe must expect to be drawn against any of the teams that qualified.
“This is just like a Champions League draw. One cannot choose to face. After the draw it is all about our preparations. That will determine how are going to perform.
“I think at this stage of the game, we need to expect to be drawn against any of the teams that qualified. The fact that we are going for the Afcon finals means that we have what it takes to compete against whoever also qualified.
“It is no secret that there no more small teams hence we cannot really sit down and say we would prefer to meet so and so in the group stages of the tournament. We just have to play whoever we get in the group stage,” he said.
Gweru based airmen Chapungu gaffer Rodwell Dhlakama said the current national team has the pedigree to face any nation on the continent.
“We definitely have the talent and ability to play any team in Africa provided we are adequately prepared in all components of the game that can bring success.
“We also have a decent and experienced team to overcome the same. All teams do not have perfect squads even when Cameron won the Afcon trophy no one gave to them the chance they thought at that time they were fallen giants. We can draw inspiration from the same,” said the former Monomotapa coach.
Eastern Region Division One ambitious outfit Greenfuels coach Taku Shariwa said: “When you go for Afcon finals you need to be prepared for any opponent. We are there on merit and we can face any team. There is nothing to fear. We have quality within our ranks. Look at (Knowledge) Musona is among the top goal scorers in the qualifiers. On paper we have capable players.
“It is about what this group of players wants to achieve as a team and not as individuals. How we will apply ourselves on the field of play matters most. In fact, the other teams are the ones that should be worried about us.”
Media reports indicated that Zimbabwe’s Warriors are in pot 3.
Pot One comprises Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Senegal while Pot Two comprises Morocco, Nigeria, DR Congo, Algeria, Mali and Guinea
Pot Three has Uganda, South Africa, Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe, Angola and Burundi while Pot Four comprises Mauritania, Namibia, Benin, Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania.
CAF has not yet released the format that will be used for the draw but analysts expect a blend of the March 2019 Fifa world rankings released last week and recent performances in the Nations Cup to sort the teams.
Zimbabwe is ranked 110th on the FIFA World Ranking, and 26th in Africa.
As a result, the Warriors will be in a group which contains two of the 12-ranked sides in the tournament. These countries are Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, RDC, Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Algeria.
The fourth team in the Group will be a team ranked lower than Zimbabwe. The top two teams in each pool advance to the second round‚ along with the four best third-placed teams.