HARARE – Warriors forward Cuthbert Malajila has described Sunday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Malawi at the National Sports Stadium as a cup final.
Malajila got the ball rolling in the current Group L qualifying campaign when he scored the opening goal in the 1-2 away win over Malawi almost a year ago in Blantyre.
Since then, the Warriors have maintained their strong grip on the group with two draws and one win which has left them with a three-point lead at the top ahead of Swaziland and Guinea.
On Sunday, Zimbabwe hosts the Flames in the reverse fixture and a double over Ernest Mtawali’s side would leave the Warriors a step closer to Gabon.
Malajila, who just completed another successful season by winning a double with Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, is bracing for another tough encounter against Malawi on Sunday.
“This is a cup final; we are playing at home and we know what we did last time around,” Malajila said in reference to the Warriors 4-0 win over Swaziland in March.
“We have to carry on from there; I think the guys are ready to do the job.
“I think Malawi are a good team, we can’t take that away from them. They will probably cause us a few problems on set-pieces but we also know their weaknesses.
“Their defence is not very good and as you can see our strikers are in top form at the moment.”
The Warriors can seal their berth in Gabon with a win over Malawi and if Guinea fail to beat Swaziland in Lobamba on the same day.
It will be the first time Zimbabwe qualifies for the continental showpiece since 2006 and Malajila is confident that jinx can be broken.
“I think we will do the job at home. We have to believe, have faith and all those things,” he said.
“We have a good chance to be in Gabon next year and we have to be positive that we will qualify; that’s the only thing we are after.
“We have to play like we did in our last game against Swaziland. Everything went well on that day; the players and the supporters.
“We ended up winning 4-0 and we have to carry on from that day. On Sunday, even a 1-0 win will be enough and it will carry us to another level.
“All we need is the three points and it will not matter how we get them, as long as we have another win in the bag.”
Meanwhile, winger Kuda Mahachi has turned his personal tragedy into a quest to help Zimbabwe qualify for the 2017 Africa of Nations in Gabon.
Mahachi is still in mourning following the passing away of his daughter Deneo early last month.
The four-year-old passed away suddenly after a short illness which forced the Golden Arrows midfielder to end his Super Diski season early.
“I’m still in pain. This game I’m dedicating it to my daughter. She was my one and only child,” Mahachi said.
“I want to make her happy wherever she is.”