HARARE – Zimbabwe national football team utility player Hardlife Zvirekwi has urged his teammates to use their 2014 World Cup disappointment as motivation ahead of the Cosafa Cup.
The Warriors begin their defence of the title they won in 2009, when they clash in the quarterfinals against the Flames of Malawi this Saturday at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia.
The Zimbabwe squad lost two World Cup qualifiers last month going down 4-2 to Egypt at the National Sports Stadium and 1-0 away to Guinea.
Zvirekwi, missed the Guinea match after losing his passport while in transit in Kenya, but it was later recovered and he is available for selection for Saturday’s game.
“We are going to Zambia with positive minds. We will be aiming to defend the title and I always tell my teammates that we need to remain focused and also learn from our past mistakes,” Zvirekwi told the Daily News yesterday.
“We have a good team and I believe we are going to fight and get a good result. This is our chance to redeem ourselves and get something for our fans to cheer at.”
The Warriors drew 1-1 in an international friendly with the Malawians in May where the likes of Zvirekwi, Felix Chindungwe, Ronald Chitiyo, Masimba Mambare, Silas Songani and Ocean Mushure took part.
“I was disappointed to miss the Guinea match, however, this is my chance to shine and I am also confident the team will do the job,” added Zvirekwi.
“It will be not easy for us to retain the cup but we need to remain focused. The good thing is that the moral is very high in camp.”
Zimbabwe’s showdown with Malawi will precede another quarterfinal clash between South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and the Brave Warriors of Namibia at the same venue.
If the Warriors are able to get past Malawi, they will meet the winner of the quarterfinal pitting Angola and Group B preliminary round winners.
Zimbabwe have lifted the regional tournament a record four times and arrive in Zambia as the defending champions after claiming the Cup on home soil in 2009.
Warriors interim coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels told the Daily News this week that he is aiming to go out with a bang by winning the competition.
Goalkeepers: Maxwell Nyamupanedengu (Harare City), Munyaradzi Diya (Highlanders), Tafadzwa Dube (CAPS United)
Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS United), Felix Chindungwe (ChickenInn), Ocean Mushure (Dynamos), Eric Chipeta (Hwange), Nicholas Guyo(Monomotapa), Prosper Matizanadzo (Buffaloes)
Midfielders: Masimba Mambare (Highlanders), Devon Chafa (Dynamos),Charles Sibanda (FC Platinum), Silas Songani (Harare City), RonaldChitiyo (Monomotapa)
Strikers: Tendai Ndoro (Chicken Inn), Lot Chiwunga (Black Rhinos),Simba Sithole (How Mine), Last Chibwiro (Black Mambas).