HARARE – Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa says his team will put up their best when the Cosafa Castle Cup kicks off in Namibia tomorrow.
The Warriors are already in Namibia where they will begin their Cosafa Castle Cup title bid in the qualifying stages where they have been placed in Group A.
Pasuwa’s charges begin their campaign with a clash against Swaziland tomorrow at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek at 3pm.
The other teams in the Seychelles and Madagascar will clash at the same venue at 5:30pm.
Zimbabwe needs to top their group in order to proceed to the quarter-finals where they will take on Zambia.
The other qualifying Group B comprises Angola, Lesotho, Malawi and Mauritius while holders Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia and guest nation Democratic Republic of Congo have been handed a bye and will only begin the tournament in the knockout stages.
But before the Warriors can think of the quarter-finals they must be at their best to negotiate their passage from Group B.
Swaziland have improved a lot in recent years and showed their pedigree by holding their own in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers where they are in the same Group L with the Warriors.
Although Zimbabwe have sealed their place at the finals to be held in Gabon next year, Sihlangu enhanced their chances of sneaking in as one of the best-placed runners-up by defeating Guinea 1-0 in Lobamba at the weekend.
The Warriors were also a disappointing lot at the Cosafa Castle Cup last year in South African when they failed to progress from the qualifying stages.
Pasuwa said his charges need to improve on their showing in Mzansi last year and maintain the momentum they have shown in the Afcon qualifiers.
“I don’t want to put pressure on the boys but we are obviously going there to do better than the last time,” Pasuwa said.
“We will do our best because that is the main reason why we are going there to participate. This tourney is important to every member of the technical team and the playing body.
“Remember last year’s tournament coincided with the Chan qualifiers and we could not field some of the players.
“While we could not get all the players that we wanted, I think we have a relatively strong team. I am confident we can progress to the knockout stages.
“We have a group of very talented and hungry players who are ready to prove themselves. I have seen the passion and determination in these players and I believe they can do it.”
The Warriors left Harare on Wednesday afternoon and arrived safely in Windhoek in the afternoon and are now setting their sights on winning a record fifth Cosafa Castle Cup title.
Zimbabwe have won the tournament in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2009 while Zambia are also on four wins in 1997, 1998, 2006 and 2013.
Goalkeepers: Tatenda Mukuruva, Donovan Benard
Defenders: Teenage Hadebe, Bruce Kangwa, Farai Madhanhanga, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Elisha Muroiwa, Blessing Moyo, Lawrence Mhlanga
Midfielders: Danny Phiri, Tatenda Mudehwe, Nqobizitha Masuku, Raphael Manuvire, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Talent Chawapihwa
Strikers: Obidiah Tarumbwa, King Nadolo, Charlton Mashumba