Re­ac­tion to AFCON 2019 Draw

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Grace Chin­goma Se­nior Sports Re­porter

WAR­RIORS coach Cal­listo Pa­suwa and leg­endary gaffer Sun­day Chidzambwa have de­scribed the 2019 AFCON qual­i­fy­ing chal­lenge as tough but fair.

The War­riors will tackle the DRC, Congo-Braz­zav­ille and Liberia for a place in Cameroon.

“I am one per­son who wants to play first and then talk later,” Pa­suwa, speak­ing from Gabon, said.

“Re­mem­ber DRC is one of the teams which have been climb­ing on FIFA rank­ings, they are well spon­sored and se­ri­ous in how they have been do­ing their things.

“Foot­ball is im­prov­ing ev­ery­where and you saw how Swazi­land did in the re­cent qual­i­fiers, they did well.

“Liberia, like Zim­babwe you can’t un­der­rate them. If they do their things cor­rectly they will be sur­prise pack­age of the group.”

The qual­i­fiers for all the groups will start in earnest on the week­end of June 5 to 13.

The group matches will then re­sume next year in March, Septem­ber, Oc­to­ber and con­clude in Novem­ber.

Chidzambwa be­lieves avoid­ing gi­ants from the West and North Africa might help the War­riors.

“It is a very fair group. The two Con­gos are good sides but surely you can­not com­pare them with op­po­nents like Al­ge­ria.

“They are teams from the cen­tral re­gion. This group is not dif­fi­cult as other groups we are usu­ally put in.

“We need to re­group once we fin­ish the Africa Cup of Na­tions and fo­cus on the qual­i­fiers.

“We just need to start the prepa­ra­tions early,” he said.

Chidzambwa said there is a ten­dency for as­so­ci­a­tions to part ways with coaches af­ter ma­jor tour­na­ments like the Na­tions Cup and this is usu­ally counter pro­duc­tive.

“In foot­ball, to be­come house­hold names, it is a process. You have to build from grass­roots and ju­niors, so a coach needs time to build.

“I al­ways give coach Sir Alex Fer­gu­son as an ex­am­ple, it took him eight years to win his first league ti­tle and he then went on, for the next 25 years, to dom­i­nate the scene.”

CAF in this cam­paign un­like the pre­vi­ous qual­i­fiers will count points of the host na­tion, Cameroon.

This ac­cord­ing to ca­fon­line will lead to three sce­nar­ios.

“If the host team is the win­ner of the group, the run­ner-up will au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify to the fi­nal tour­na­ment. No other team will be el­i­gi­ble to qual­ify from this group.

“If the host team is the run­ner-up of the group, only the win­ner of the group will qual­ify to the fi­nal tour­na­ment.

“The win­ners of each group will join the host coun­try in the fi­nal tour­na­ment as well as the best three run­ner-ups in all 12 groups,” said CAF.

Group A: Sene­gal, Equa­to­rial Guinea, Su­dan, Sao Tome/Mada­gas­car

Group B: Cameroon, Morocco, Malawi, Co­moros/Mau­ri­tius

Group C: Mali, Gabon, Bu­rundi, Dji­bouti/South Su­dan Group D: Al­ge­ria, Togo, Benin, Gam­bia Group E: Nige­ria, South Africa, Libya, Sey­chelles

Group F: Ghana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Kenya

Group G: Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, Congo, Zim­babwe, Liberia

Group H: Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Cen­tral Africa, Rwanda

Group I: Burk­ina Faso, An­gola, Botswana, Mau­ri­ta­nia

Group J: Tu­nisia, Egypt, Niger, Swazi­land

Group K: Zam­bia, Mozam­bique, Guinea Bis­sau, Namibia

Group L: Cape Verde, Uganda, Tan­za­nia, Le­sotho

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