HARARE – Zimbabwe have vowed to go on the offensive from word go in the second leg of the 2013 African Nations Cup final qualifier away to Angola on Sunday despite carrying a seemingly comfortable 3-1 lead.
Warriors assistant coach Peter Ndlovu — a firm believer in attacking football — told reporters yesterday that going into a defensive mode in Luanda will be detrimental.
“We are ahead in terms of the result from the first leg, but this time I think we are going to shock a lot of people, even the Angolans who think we are going there to defend,” said the former Warriors kingpin.
“It’s very dangerous if we try to defend in Angola. We must set the pace and send a message across that we are not here to defend. That’s the strategy we are going to employ. We have very good players, especially the strikers, and it will be useless if we go there and not use them. We have to go there and attack, but obviously there will be a bit of caution.”
Ndlovu was the first Warriors captain to lead Zimbabwe at the Afcon finals when he skippered the team in Tunisia in 2004.
The Warriors also went on to qualify for the following tournament in Egypt two years later, but have been on the decline since then, dismally failing to qualify for the last three editions of Africa’s premier football competitions in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
The Warriors are also yet to win a competitive match in Luanda in four previous attempts, but Ndlovu — who was known as Sukuzonke (everyday wonder) or Flying Elephant during his playing days — is confident of victory.
“We are treating Sunday’s game as a nil all. We have had some bad results in our previous visits to Angola, but I think this time we are going to turn the tables,” he said.
“We can’t go there and fear the history. We must try turn things in our favour.”
The Warriors are scheduled to travel to Angola Friday evening aboard a chartered plane. They will reach Luanda in the early hours of Saturday morning, giving them just a full day to acclimatise to the hot and humid conditions in the Angolan capital.
Temperatures are forecasted to be over 27 degree celsius on Sunday in Angola.
“Sometimes in such circumstances that’s when good teams deal with the situation to get a result,” said Ndlovu.
“If it was something we can control, we would have travelled early, but that’s what we are getting and we will deal with it.”
Ndlovu’s comments were also echoed by star forward Khama Billiat, who mesmerised the Angolan defence with a man-of-the-match performance in the first leg.
“We are fully aware that they will be playing at home and they will have a huge crowd, but it’s one of those games that you don’t need anyone to motivate you,” Billiat said.
“We know where we are coming from and we know what we want to achieve as a nation. It’s a very big game and I know most of the players have never been in a situation like this. Such moments cannot be relived, so we must make the best out of it.”
The Warriors yesterday held their first day of serious preparation at Italian Sports Club in the capital.
Coach Rahman Gumbo took a full complement of players through their paces in the morning session, with the exception of Esrom Nyandoro, Quincy Antipas, Onismor Bhasera and Archieford Gutu.
The quartet arrived in the country midday and only joined their teammates for the afternoon session.
Meanwhile, Mzansi90, a fundraising committee set up to mobilise resources for the Warriors’ Angola trip and winning bonuses received a further boost when the minister of Local Government, Ignatius Chombo availed 21 stands if the team wins in Luanda.
The stands are situated in Borrowdale — a leafy suburb located in the northern parts of Harare.
The minister is still sourcing for more stands and the number is likely to increase from 21.
The committee also got a further cash injection of $42 000 from six different local companies.
Marange Resources donated $20 000, TN bank contributed $5 000 while Logistica chipped in with $5 000.
The committee also got $10 000 from Redan Petroleum, $5 000 from Com Oil and $2 000 from pentagon Investments.
“We are still urging corporates to support this cause. We are almost there and the Angolans are already frightened wherever they are because they have realised that Zimbabwe means business,” Mzansi90 chairperson, George Manyaya told the Daily News last night.