Hope Chizuzu, Sports Reporter
HARARE – In form Prince Dube, impressive throughout the preparation, will this afternoon (Kickoff 1500hrs) lead the attack as Warriors face Senegal in this Group B opener.
Senegal dented by Covid-19 positive results, will miss some of their big hitters, but that will not stop Zimbabwe seizing their opportunities to claim a stake into the next round.
Dube will lead the attack that has surprise power and hard work from Bruce Kangwa and Ishmael Wadi, employed wide to ensure the channels are busy while closing out any gaps that may appear.
Zimbabwe is set out to seize territory and make the pitch small in order to suffocate Senegal, who thrive on space and power.
Such an attack will be ably assisted by the sitting prowess of Kelvin Madzongwe at the base of midfield, where skipper Knowledge Musona, thriving on energy and intelligence coming from behind, ghosting into the box late, during turnovers, will offer business tickets to attack seamlessly.
With enterprising Benyu, a late inclusion, giving surprise glimpses of improvisation and speed, the control of midfield will be key in how we play and defend, to stop Senegal’s power play getting into groove.
The defence, selected to effect, lack the speed required to conjure spasmodic surprises but is made to close shop and shut out any raids, hardly moving out of their comfort zone.
Teenage Hadebe, a sure fit for any defensive duties, will hope Gerald Takwara offer the arrogant solidity necessary to allow Onesimor Bhasera on the left and Takudzwa Chimwemwe on the right, some one day visas into the attack in order to overload the opponents midfield that has some of the strongest pieces in the Afcon engine rooms.
The match of Group, despite the Covid-19 soundtrack, has all the ingredients of a thriller and pundits believe Senegal will have it easy against the Warriors as they are the best ranked country in Africa, at least on Fifa co-efficiency.
But the match in Bafoussam, will be a different one with Petros Mhari guarding the goal for the Warriors. The plan is clear – do not give Senegal space anywhere on the pitch.
Keep the ball and dominate territory and coach Norman Mapeza has his number on closing the centre corridor of hope while opening it wide in the channels to force the Senegalese to concede territory and move their defence out of their pegged holes.
The tactic will allow Dube the free zone movement across the final third, which in moments of possession, allows the wide players into attack too, while the defensive combo moves higher up the field in support, while sniffing out for any long ball launches using the attacking pace of Sadio Mane and crew.
Barring any malfunctions in the system, we could have a fairly exciting game as the plan B will involve Tino Kadewere, Kuda Mahachi, Thabani Kamusoko, Alec Mudimu and Never Tigere to offer a totally different value to the game.
It promises to be a marketplace match where there is something for everyone….for now hold your pockets firm as the SRC send the boys a best wishes message ahead of the match.
Go Warriors Go!
Zimbabwe XI vs Senegal:
Petros Mhari, Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Onesmor Bhasera Teenage Hadebe, Gerald Takwara, Kevin Madzongwe, Knowledge Musona (C), Kundai Benyu, Ishmael Wadi, Bruce Kangwa, Prince Dube.
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