14 October 2012

Zimbabwe/Angola: Warriors Final Battle in Angola

Photo: CAF
Zimbabwe nation soccer team 'The Warriors' in action

THE Warriors march into the November 11 Stadium this afternoon for the crucial 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with a slight edge over hosts Angola as history records that Zimbabwe has won a game more in their previous encounters.

The two teams have met nine times in the World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers since 1993, with Zimbabwe winning four, drawing two and losing three.

However, both countries have failed to chalk up victory in foreign land, so it has to be seen whether coach Rahman Gumbo would be able to break the jinx and take the Warriors through to South Africa next year.

Historically, Warriors have not been good travellers, but will be hoping to turn the tide and shock the hosts.

Angola have a superior world ranking sitting on position 83 while they occupy position 21 in the continent.

Zimbabwe are ranked 89 in the world after having moved nine places up the ladder and are ranked 23 in the continent.

While their history on the road has not been satisfactory, the Warriors have not lost by more than two goals in Luanda and also managed to notch a draw in 1997.

The Warriors go into the match carrying a 3-1 lead from the first leg played back at home on September 9, therefore at least a draw would seal qualification for the finals.

The two countries first met in a World Cup qualifier in 1993 in Luanda. The match ended in a one-all draw with the Warriors winning the second leg 2-1 in Harare.

They then clashed again in the qualifiers of the 1998 World Cup qualifiers in 1996 in which Angola won 2-1 in the first leg with the return leg ending in a nil all stalemate in Harare a year later.

The two teams were drawn again together in the qualifiers of the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations finals, with Zimbabwe winning the first leg 1-0 at home before losing 2-1 in Angola in the second leg.

During the race to the 2006 World Cup in Germany in which Angola won the ticket to represent the continent, the Warriors lost 1-0 in the first leg but bounced back winning 2-0 at home. That was before the two teams' last meeting this year saw Zimbabwe prevailing by a 3-1 score line.

It is against this history that Rahman Gumbo's men troop into the enemy zone looking for nothing short of victory.

According to reports from Angola, the Warriors arrived in Angola midday Saturday.

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