13 October 2012

Zimbabwe/Angola: Mugadza Speaks On Warriors

Photo: Confederation of African Football.
Zimbabwe senior soccer team

Johannesburg — MIGHTY Warriors coach, Rose Mugadza, says the Warriors should believe in themselves and not be defensive when they take on the Palancas Negras in the make-or-break Nations Cup tie in Luanda tomorrow evening.

The Zimbabwe senior women's soccer team have a date against South Africa at Dobsonville Stadium here tonight.

The international friendly match, which is serving as a practice tie for the hosts before they compete at the African Cup of Nations later this month, will kick off at 7pm in Soweto.

But there is no doubt that in everyone's mind here that the big game is the one that features the Warriors.

And yesterday the technical team here spent an hour debating as they selected their first XI, which they believe could take Zimbabwe to next year's African Cup of Nations.

For a change, it felt different as the technical bench of Mugadza, technical advisor Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe and goalkeepers' coach Nkululeko Sibanda discussed the senior team.

They also talked about what they feel their fellow coach, Rahman Gumbo, should do as he is faced with the crucial 90 minutes that could see him join the likes of Sunday Chidzambwa and Charles Mhlauri, who have taken Zimbabwe to the Promised Land.

"I spoke to Rahman before I came here, he wanted me to come to one of their training sessions and observe but, unfortunately, I failed to make it as I was with the girls," said Mugadza.

"I told him that the boys should believe in themselves, should be confident and not play a defensive game at all.

"We should avoid conceding an early goal and in fact we should push for a goal.

"There is competition in the team among those who played in the first leg and those who were absent but all the players know that we just have to qualify for Mzansi.

"We have been to Angola before with the Mighty Warriors and we know what they are capable of but the players we have are professionals and they know what treatment to expect in a game of such magnitude and should be able to handle that."

Jongwe, who was assistant coach to the national Under-17 team in 2006 which had the likes of Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiart, Archford Gutu, Abbas Amidu and Lincolin Zvasiya, who now form the core of the Warriors, is confident that the Warriors will definitely get a goal in Luanda.

A goal by Zimbabwe in Luanda means the hosts will have to win by a 4-1 margin to advance to the Nations Cup in South Africa next year.

A 3-1 win will square the tie.

Jongwe said with chief striker Musona back in the fold, Zimbabwe will definitely get a goal in Luanda.

He said the former Kaizer Chiefs forward has produced a magical performance for the country every time he has donned the national team jersey since his early days when he featured for Young Warriors.

"With Musona in the team we should be guaranteed of, at least, a goal," said Jongwe.

"Every game that boy has played for Zimbabwe, from the Young Warriors, he have done something special and I don't see him failing to produce a magical moment in Luanda.

"I don't know of any game in national team colours has he failed to produce something special and even in Cape Verde he was on target although the goal was not enough as the damage had already been done.

"I still vividly remember when I was assistant coach to Rodwell Dhlakama when the team was playing in the qualifiers and in the preliminary against Reunion and we had beaten them 2-1 at Gwanzura with Musona and Khama Billiart on target.

"When we went there they took lead and it was 2-0 up to the 90th minute.

"In the last minute of optional time, I am sure we were left with about 20 seconds, Knowledge left three markers and rounded the 'keeper and scored the much-needed goal to make it 1-2.

"Immediately after the goal the match went to the penalty shootout which we won."

While the focus here has been on the big tie in Angola, the Mighty Warriors have not forgotten the big task at hand and last night trained at the match venue, which is the home ground of Moroka Swallows.

A morning session yesterday was cancelled as it was raining and coach Mugadza said it would be game on when they meet their neighbours tonight.

"Since our revival they have beaten us twice, that is in October 2010 when they hosted the Afcon, and we played them in a practice match like the one we would be playing tonight and they beat us 4-0.

"They then came to Zimbabwe for the Unity Day Cup and again they beat us 3-0.

"But come 2011 we managed to beat them twice, in the Cosafa Champions final 1-0, and the Unity Day Cup 4-0.

"This year it is our first time to meet them and it also their first match, after they competed at the London 2012 Olympics, and we have a point to prove as a team as we failed to qualify for the Nations Cup but we believe we are a good side," said Mugadza.

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