Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Warriors coach, Norman Mapeza gets an opportunity to fine-tune his team for the Africa Cup of Nations when they take on Sudan in a friendly match in Yaoundé, Cameroon this afternoon.
The Warriors, who left Harare on Wednesday arrived in the Cameroonian capital city on Thursday.
On Friday, the Warriors had a double training session before they had a morning fine tuning session yesterday as they gear up for the two friendly matches, one against Sudan this afternoon before they take on Cameroon on Tuesday.
Iceland-based Kundai Benyu was the first of the six players that are meant to link up with up with the team in Cameroon to join camp when he did so on Thursday. Skipper Knowledge Musona, Tinotenda Kadewere, David Moyo, Jordan Zemura, Admiral Muskwe are still to join the team in the West African country.
England born Benyu, whose two appearances for Zimbabwe came in friendly matches against Lesotho and Namibia could be the answer to Mapeza’s lack of a creativity in midfield.
Mapeza has what is being viewed by some Zimbabwean football analysts as the weakest team ever to represent Zimbabwe at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Zimbabwe are heading into their fifth appearance at the Afcon without five key players. Marvelous Nakamba, Marshall Munetsi and Brendan Galloway were ruled out by injury, Khama Billiat announced his retirement from international football in November while Tendayi Darikwa asked to be excused from the tournament.
Mapeza is however, not concerned about what is being said about his team selection, with his focus being on getting his boys ready when the tournament starts.
“So far so good, no complaints. About the comments (on weak team) it’s their opinion, I will respect that,” Mapeza said.
While Zimbabwe not have their best team, they got the best draw.
The Warriors are in Group with Senegal’s Lions of Teranga, the Flames of Malawi and the Elephants of Guinea.
Zimbabwe collide with Senegal in Group B’s opening match scheduled for 10 January 2022 at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam.
Zimbabwe face Malawi on 14 January 2022 at Kouekong Stadium before they meet Guinea at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Cameroon’s capital city Yaoundé on 18 January.
The Warriors have a chance of going to the round of 16 as the group winners, runners up or even as one of the four third-placed teams.
Zimbabwe have never gone past the group stage in their four previous appearances at the Afcon, with Mapeza’s team under pressure to bring an end to early elimination from the tournament.
Petros Mhari, Martin Mapisa, Talbert Shumba
Peter Muduhwa, Alec Mudimu, Teenage Hadebe, Jordan Zemura, Godknows Murwira, Gerald Takwara, Gilroy Chimwemwe, Bruce Kangwa, Onismor Bhasera
Kelvin Madzongwe, Thabani Kamusoko, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Ishmael Wadi, Never Tigere, Kundai Benyu
Admiral Muskwe, Prince Dube, David Moyo, Knowledge Musona, Tinotenda Kadewere
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