The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Reaction to AFCON 2019 Draw

- 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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