The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Coaches Back Warriors

DOMESTIC Premier Soccer League coaches have thrown their weight behind Rahman Gumbo and the Warriors as they prepare for their showdown against Angola in Luanda this Sunday. Zimbabwe are only 90 minutes away from sealing their destiny as they carry a healthy 3-1 lead into the match from the first leg at Rufaro last month.

Former national team coach, Luke Masomere, yesterday said the Warriors should not be intimidated by the Angolans who boast of an array of overseas players.

"As coaches I think we shouldn't throw around different theories at this stage because this will confuse the team. Whatever game plan the coach has, let's support that," said Masomere.

"The players, too, should take heed of the coaches' advice and play according to instructions.

"Of course, Angola are a strong team not to be taken lightly but we should not be intimidated by their overseas stars.

"We have our foreign-based who can also do the job.

"Obviously, as a patriotic Zimbabwean, I would want the team to prosper and I am fully behind our Warriors. This is our game because we are closer to qualifying than Angola and that should encourage us before we even kick the ball.

"As it stands we have one foot in the finals. I think Rahman Gumbo should be more relieved because he now has more options."

Masomere also had a word of advice for the team as he urged them to prepare for a hostile reception.

He said African teams were notorious for employing dirty tactics to destabilise opponents when it matters most.

"This is Africa and I know some of the experiences. We shouldn't go there expecting five-star treatment. The Warriors should be geared for everything, including bad officiating.

"My message to them is that even if they are to be booked in a sub-standard hotel or at a place resembling a shebeen, they shouldn't lose their focus.

"We have experienced some worse situations before. They should just concentrate on the core business of playing football and getting results," he said.

Motor Action mentor, Joey Antipas who was in the previous technical set up, also tipped the Warriors to prevail in Angola.

"It's quite obvious that Angola will be formidable in their backyard. Since they are the ones chasing the game they will come out with guns blazing.

"It's going to be a big challenge. Although we are 3-1 up we should not forget that we are going to another territory and all we need to do is to keep our cool and not panic.

"I would not advice to park the bus because that strategy comes with a lot of pressure. Ninety minutes is a lot of time in football.

"It's important to play your normal game, concentrate and try to stick to our game plan," said Antipas.

CAPS United coach, Taurai Mangwiro, said the technical team should do what is best under the circumstances to get the results that should propel them to their third Africa Cup of Nations finals.

"This is a big game for us because we know what a positive result would mean for the nation.

"Obviously, the coach has his way of doing things and that should be respected if we are to increase the chances of getting a good result.

"Let's all support the coach and the players. We at CAPS United would want to wish the Warriors success and they should know that we are fully behind them," said Mangwiro.

Chicken Inn coach Adam Ndlovu believes the Warriors now have a better chance following the clearance of seven more players from the Asiagate suspensions.

Ndlovu said the team did well to beat Angola at Rufaro in the first leg.

"There are some players who were released from the Asiagate suspensions and if they are considered that would stabilise the team.

"I feel we would need to make our midfield very strong because that is the most important area.

"We shouldn't give them much room to come at us because it will turn out to be a difficult game if we go there to defend," said Ndlovu.

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