Warriors anticipate titanic tussle against Liberia

Warriors anticipate titanic tussle against Liberia

The shortage of currency or rather lack of funds has grounded Zimbabwe’s ambitious plans to charter a flight to Monrovia for their penultimate Group G match against the “Lone Stars” of Liberia on Sunday.

As a result, the Warriors have travelled in dribs and drabs to the West African country, most flying directly from their different destinations in Europe, to meet up in Monrovia on Wednesday where they plan to fine tune their preparations for the match.

According to spokesman Omega Sibanda, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) could not raise the US$150 000 fee required to charter a plane and they consequently abandoned the plan and embarked on plan B.

This is a crucial match for both countries with Zimbabwe perfectly perched at the summit with eight points from four outings while their hosts lie fourth with four points and still in with a shouting chance should they manage to secure maximum points on Sunday.

It is for this reason that Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa has assembled a quality side packed with attacking players and would be going for the jugular in an attempt to secure qualification with a game to spare.

Yet while Chidzambwa needed all hands on deck, the gaffer took a difficult decision to leave out defender Costa Nhamoinesu with observers claiming the technical committee was fed up with the player’s lack of patriotism and commitment to their cause.

Sources within the club reveal that Chidzambwa was no longer prepared to accommodate the Czech Republic based defender who was an integral part of the Warriors when they participated in the 2017 AFCON in Gabon.

With Zimbabwe on the brink of qualification, Chidzambwa has allegedly slammed the player, claiming he faked injuries but in truth did not give him the impression that he was still interested in featuring for his country.

After missing the opening qualifier against Liberia last June due to an injury from which he has since recovered, the player has been a regular feature for his club – Sparta Praha – but has continued to reject national call-ups.

“The last time I communicated with him was for the game against Congo Brazzaville,” said Team Manager Wellington Mupandare. “He told me then that he suffered from a shoulder injury. He sent me a text message saying he could not play because of the shoulder problem.

“He said he would let me know when he had fully recovered and ready to come for national team assignments. To this day, I’m still waiting to hear from him and he has not bothered to respond to communication.”

But looking at the Warriors team led by Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, Matthew Rusike, Marvellous Nakamba and Tinotenda Kadewere, the Warriors seem to pack enough firepower for the Lone Stars even in Monrovia.

Yet Liberia has been quietly going about their preparations, acutely aware that a loss against Zimbabwe would all but end their ambitions of qualifying for the jamboree in Cameroon next June.

Thomas Kojo has been hampered by several challenges to call up a strong enough squad that would be spearheaded by skipper Anthony Laffor who has is confident that they would turn the tables against the fearsome Warriors, especially if legendary George Weah comes to support them on the day.

However, Norwegian based striker Sam Johnson is still hobbling around nursing an ankle injury and will not be part of the team, although good news has been the finalization of papers for 19-year old Newcastle United’s attacking midfielder Mohammed Sangare to finally make his debut for the Lone Stars.

Sangare has been invited on several occasions in the past, but could not make an official appearance in Liberian colours due to paperwork, which had been announced to have been finally sorted out by the Department of Home Affairs.

The DR Congo, sharing top spot with Zimbabwe but lying second on goal difference, tackle neighbours Congo Brazzaville in the battle of the Congo and the victor in this clash will also stake a claim for qualification to Cameroon.

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