Hope Chizuzu, Sports Reporter
HARARE – Lyon and Warriors striker Tino Kadewere will start ahead of Prince Dube in this evening (1800hrs) AFCON 2021 clash against neighbours Malawi in Group B second match in Bafossam, Cameroon.
Zimbabwe, who dominated but ultimately lost to Senegal in the opener on Monday, are chasing a win to set them on course for knock out stages.
Kadewere, highly rated but seldom sparkle in the Warriors colours, has a task to find the goals for the team which looked ready and focused for a job at hand.
Coach Norman Mapeza believe the boys have done enough to finally win matches and there is no better time to do so than dispatch Malawi who were also solid in the 1-0 loss to Guinea on Monday.
This is an open game as both teams seldom sit nor do they lack attack but it is the application that will win the day for Warriors.
Skipper Knowledge Musona and Kundai Benyu both trained with the lads last night and are ready for the shift. Musona complained of flu and Benyu had a knock but are now ready for Malawi.
Jordan Zemura, who arrived this week after a COVID-19 delay in England, is expected to play some part as the technical bench, on medical advice, felt the star needed a bit of time to readjust, otherwise he is good to go as all medical checks turned good.
Zimbabwe need to beat Malawi and it doesn’t matter how at the moment as a win has to be fashioned, even it means praying thrice before the match.
With the way the team played against Senegal, in which they dominated and dictated the pace in some moments, only a victory will be good enough.
A draw will leave us with all to do against Guinea in Yaounde on Wednesday, something we can avoid by winning against Malawi tonight. And it is doable.
Teenage Hadebe, Gerald Takwara and Onismor Bhasera, who had a defensive solidity that looked a like a China wall, are expected to be the base upon which the success of the team is built.
As if on cue, man of the match by a country mile, keeper Petros Mhari, shone like a beacon and is expected to continue in fine rythmn. At training last night, he was beastly collosal, which is a good sign.
Takudzwa Chimwemwe hardworking as always is raring to go as are Bruce Kangwa, who surprised many by his industry, invention and intelligence.
His movement was especially frustrating to Senegal who found his guile and pace, a pandemic of some proportion.
He fully merited his place in the side as did Ishmael Wadi, thrust into the side wide to give both pace and width.
If only he can learn to stay on his feet more, he could be useful artillery against Malawi who thrive on physicality and tight marking. His AWOL penetration is a definite arsenal.
So impressive was Wadi that his work ethic is required once more to tire and move the defences off suite, to allow Musona to pounce or ghost late into the box for a kill.
But if Benyu comes into element, Kadewere may find the circuit cleared for his oft surprise attacks on opposition keepers.
The Lyon striker is effective drifting from outside the box and should tonight find enough territory for that with Benyu expected to be on the pump at Feruka for supplies to flow at a canter.
That could surprise Malawi and mesmerize their organisation. Kelvin Madzongwe, unlucky to conceed a stoppage time penalty, has been the absolute base, a real Thaba Bosiu to our Moshoeshoe kingdom. A tower so resolute it looks mechanical and cabal.
He can be impregnable in his defence of the kingdom which has generals like Hadebe, Takwara and Bhasera mute and menacingly combatant in their avocado smiles.
How often do you have such a committee of owls singing in unison, even at day break?
Well, Malawi may have made a wrong date at the right rendezvous tonight. Whoever set this date is a genuis.
Mhari will not be sending out any invitations and Chimwemwe has just been attested into the squadron to sleep at 1800hrs…..
And Bhasera has seen enough of these battles from his time as captain of the U20 battling for global recognition with Rainsford Kalaba of Zambia, who in 2012 won the Afcon with his native Zambia…and has since retired from Chipolopolo duties.
That is how far Baz has been at the bus stop with his beloved Zimbabwe and Malawi is not enough Red Sea to stop his cross over into the Promised Land of quarterfinals Canaan.
Go Warriors Go!
Zimbabwe XI vs Malawi:
Petros Mhari, Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Onesmor Bhasera, Teenage Hadebe, Gerald Takwara, Kevin Madzongwe, Knowledge Musona (C), Kundai Benyu, Ishmael Wadi, Bruce Kangwa, Tino Kadewere
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