War­riors in Mu­sona boost

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Lang­ton Nyak­wenda

AJOURNEY that be­gan 525 days ago at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium in Harare with Nor­man Mapeza steer­ing the ship could con­clude in rap­ture for the War­riors at Sa­muel Kanyon Doe Sports Com­plex in Mon­rovia, Liberia this evening.

Na­tional soc­cer team play­ers Ge­orge Chigova, Eric Chipeta, Onisi­mor Bhasera, Teenage Hadebe, Part­son Jaure, Tha­bani Ka­mu­soko, Danny Phiri, Kuda Ma­hachi, Mar­velous Nakamba, Knowl­edge Mu­sona and Tendai Ndoro started for Zim­babwe in that 3-0 open­ing win against Liberia on June 11, 2017.

Ariel Sibanda, Jame­son Mukombwe, Lin­coln Zvasiya, Qadr Amini, Devon Chafa, Ovidy Karuru and Evans Rusike com­pleted the 18-man squad that laid the foun­da­tion for the War­riors’ quest to qual­ify for the 2019 African Cup of Na­tions fi­nals.

With eight points in the bag, three more than sec­ond-placed DRC, Zim­babwe will book their place at next year’s fi­nals in Cameroon if they avoid a de­feat against the Lone Star tonight.

Kick-off for this Group G en­counter is 6pm Zim­bab­wean time and the match is live on Su­perS­port 9.

The last time Zim­babwe played Liberia in Mon­rovia the match ended 1-1 on Septem­ber 5, 2010.

The War­riors trained at the match venue yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, an hour af­ter skip­per Knowl­edge Mu­sona ar­rived from his base in Bel­gium and first choice goalie Chigova said his team­mates were re­laxed ahead of the cru­cial tie.

“We are not putting pres­sure on our­selves. Yes, it’s a game that can de­cide our fu­ture as far as Af­con qual­i­fi­ca­tion is con­cerned, but we are just tak­ing it like any other nor­mal game. We are re­laxed - no pres­sure at all. The spirit in camp is high and the boys are ready,” Chigova told The Sun­day Mail Sport.

In the event they lose tonight, the War­riors can still wrap it up at home against Congo in March next year.

A bumper crowd is ex­pected at the match venue that is named af­ter late Liberian pres­i­dent Sa­muel Kanyon Doe, who was the West African coun­try’s first indige­nous Head of State when he ruled the na­tion be­tween 1980 and 1990 be­fore his vi­o­lent, tele­vised death.

Ac­cord­ing to Liberian news­pa­per Daily Ob­server, lo­cals an­tic­i­pate an upset with the Thomas Kojo-coached Lone Star bag­ging a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive home vic­tory af­ter de­feat­ing Congo on Oc­to­ber 6.

Liberia an­chor Group G with four points and need an out­right vic­tory against the War­riors to stay in con­tention.

So im­por­tant is the match to the Liberi­ans that Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Weah, in­ci­den­tally the only African to ever win the World Foot­baller of the Year Award, is ex­pected to be among the cheer­ing home side sup­port­ers.

Liberia’s squad in­cludes skip­per Wil­liam Je­bor, who plays for con­ti­nen­tal gi­ants Wy­dad Casablanca; Span­ish-born ‘keeper Boi­son Wyney; and Mamelodi Sun­downs mid­fielder Antony Laf­for.

New­cas­tle Un­der-23 linkman Mo­hammed San­gare could make his de­but, but there is no place Nor­way-based striker Sam John­son, who has been ruled out by in­jury.

Sene­galese ref­eree Maguette Ndi­aye wil take charge of the match.

CALM BE­FORE THE STORM ...War­riors hav­ing break­fast at a ho­tel in Mon­rovia, Liberia yes­ter­day

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