HARARE – Warriors stars were buzzing on Sunday after qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Gabon.
Despite not being at their best, the home side did what they had to do in front of an almost capacity crowd at the National Sports Stadium to beat Malawi 3-0 and seal their ticket to Gabon.
Sunday’s victory comes on the back of 4-0 destruction of Swaziland in March as the Warriors remain unbeaten in Group L after five matches.
The dreaded trip to Conakry to face Guinea in the final match in the group in September will now be a mere formality.
Warriors midfielder Marvellous Nakamba could not hide his joy at playing a crucial part in the team’s qualification.
“I’m feeling really high at the moment,” Nakamba said after the match.
“I said it before that it would be a very proud feeling if we can qualify. I have had some wonderful moments before, but to lead the team to Afcon is a special feeling.
“Everyone has played their part; this team has been through it all. We have had a bit of criticism and had highs and lows, but what we have shown is that we will never give up and we will keep fighting.”
Belgium-based Knowledge Musona, who scored the first goal against the Flames after converting a penalty he had won, was also happy with the qualification.
“We are delighted. It was a great game, very end-to-end and we showed some great moments with a lot of great attacking play,” Musona told the Daily News.
“It was an entertaining match and we had the better moments in the game and deserved the victory. The last two performances have been really positive.
“I think we have a strong team with young and experienced players who have come into the squad and have been fantastic for us —there is a good blend.
“There is excitement around the team and we have got one game to go, so, hopefully we can do that right and finish unbeaten.
“We have always remained positive. We have had a great belief in ourselves and from the manager.”
Defender Costa Nhamoinesu, who has been a revelation at the heart of defence since he was called by Pasuwa, says they are now looking forward to make a point in Gabon next year.
“It can never get better than this. This has been our goal from the start and I am happy we have achieved our target,” Nhamoinesu said after the match.
“We have quality players in our team especially up-front. We are looking forward to maintain our form.
“We want to raise the country’s flag high and we will go to Gabon to prove a point.”
Sweden-based forward Matthew Rusike said: “There was some beat of pressure in today’s game but the mark of a good team is getting the result when you are not playing well.
“We have not qualified for a long time but we have finally made it. Afcon is a massive shop window for players. You go there, impress and get an opportunity to play in bigger leagues.
“I think qualifying for Afcon will give us a bit of some stability.
“We have showed that we have quality and we now need more stakeholders to chip in and fund the game going forward.”