THE Zimbabwe senior football team plunges into battle against the Blacks Stars of Ghana on Saturday in a must-win 2022 Fifa World Cup Qualifier for Norman Mapeza’s charges.
The game will be played in the Cape Coast where the Warriors established camp on Wednesday. The two teams will also face each other in Harare on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe needs to avoid defeat to keep their slim chances alive after picking up just a point in their first two qualifiers.
The Warriors and Black Stars have met six times, with Ghana winning three and Zimbabwe once, and the other two matches ending in draws.
“We are all geared up for this big match. It’s a tricky tie, but we will make sure we get a positive result. The focus is on picking up the much-needed points. The boys are confident of doing well to keep our hopes of advancing to the next stage alive,” said Warriors second assistant coach Mandla Mpofu.
The Mapeza-led technical team included some locally based players. Former coach Zdravko Logarusic overlooked locally based players due to the inactivity in the local game.
Only Dynamos utility player Godknows Murwira, as well as the FC Platinum duo of William Stima and Silas Songani, were unused substitutes during the goalless draw against South Africa.
Mapeza takes over from Croatian tactician Zdravko Logarusic who was relieved of his duties after the Warriors’ 1-0 loss to Ethiopia in the last international break.
Mapeza was recruited to salvage the campaign, after Logarusic, who reportedly became the first Warriors coach in 75 years to win just one game in 14 matches, was finally sacked.
Ghana, who are four-time African champions, are second in Group G with three points while Zimbabwe anchor with a point. South Africa are leading with four points and Ethiopia have three points.
In 2006, the Warriors beat Ghana 2-1 in an Afcon group tie courtesy of goals by former captain Benjani Mwaruwari and Cephas Chimedza.
Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants), Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars)
Defenders: Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutais), Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle), Bruce Kangwa (Azam), Onismor
Bhasera (SuperSport), Rahman Kutsanzira (FC Platinum), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo), Tendayi Darikwa
(Wigan), Jordan Zemura (Bournemouth)
Midfielders: Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune), Farai Madhananga (Marumo Gallants), Kelvin Madzongwe (FC
Platinum), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Kuda Mahachi (SuperSport), Marshal Munetsi (Reims), Marvelous
Nakamba (Aston Villa), Never Tigere (Azam), Perfect Chikwende (Simba SC), Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco)
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (Al-Tai), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates)