By Sinikiwe Marodza
Zimbabwean coach Sunday Chidzambwa is already having sleepless nights as he tries to figure out a strategy that will help his squad secure a position at Africa’s biggest football competition, the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier due in just over a month’s time.
Despite having six COSAFA championship titles under his name, Chidzambwa sees AFCON qualifiers as a very difficult challenge that requires a different approach in as far as preparations and proper planning are concerned.
The Warriors have never reached the quarter-finals in their three previous apperances at AFCON.
History reckons the 2004 edition as their best when they reached the 14th position on the continent's ratings compared to the 2017 edition with a similar position.
In 2006, their second appearance, the Warriors were ranked number 15 at the tournament.
Chidzambwa, the first coach to qualify for AFCON in 2004, said it was his wish to break the jinx and make history again.
“We are in Group G, and it is not an easy task for us.
“DR Congo, Liberia and Congo are not easy teams, we do have a difficult task ahead of us.
“Yes, we did a good job when we faced Liberia, that 3-0 victory takes us a long way. Our next challenge now is DR Congo, and as the coach I am doing my best to make sure that Zimbabwe comes up with a strong squad that can take us to where we wish to go.
“For this year’s edition, our target is to do better than the past editions,” Chidzambwa said.
Zimbabwe, however, seem to have a strong bank of good players, and if coach Chidzambwa chooses wisely he can achieve his dream.
With players like the Belgian-based forward Knowledge Musona and midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Wales-based Alec Mudimu and South Africa’s darling, Khama Billiat, Zimbabwe can do better.
“We have been preparing for this match ahead of us since last year.
“We even used the last edition of COSAFA as a preparatory match, I have identified quite a number of players from those games.
“Unfortunately, key players like Tinotenda Philani Kadewere are likely not to join the squad for the DR Congo assignment because he is injured and we are not sure if he will fully recover before we travel to Central Africa,” Chidzambwa said.