Francis Nyamutsamba Sports Reporter
Sunday will be a glorious opportunity for the Warriors to wrap up AFCON qualification with a game to spare, when they take to the field at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in a battle that promises to be exciting.
Heading into Sunday’s (tomorrow) duel against Liberia, Zimbabwe will be heavy favourites following impeccable back-to-back performances against the Democratic Republic of Congo in their last two outings.
The thoroughly drilled Warriors overcame the Leopards in their own backyard, before holding the wounded African giants to a 1-all draw in the return leg held at a packed giant National Sports Stadium.
Bolstered by the return of Evans Rusike who missed the Warriors’ last two encounters due to injury, Zimbabwe is expected to be sharper upfront, with Tinotenda Kadewere’s presence set to give Sunday Chidzambwa some selection headaches.
After picking up a red card in the DRC, Knowledge Musona makes a welcome return after serving his suspension in Zimbabwe’s home stalemate against the DRC.
Another addition to the Warriors’ squad is Willard Katsande who had called it quits after leading Zimbabwe to the 2017 Nations Cup held in Gabon, only to make a u-turn after realising a continued desire to represent his country.
Save for the absence of Tendayi Darikwa who is ruled out owing to suspension, Chidzambwa will not be complaining much about available options.
An authoritative campaign sees Zimbabwe at the summit of the Group G standings with 8 points, and a draw will be enough to seal a second consecutive AFCON qualification.
In their bid to do so, the Warriors will be looking to inflict what could be a killer blow to Liberia’s hopes of qualifying.
The last time the Warriors were in Monrovia the game ended 1-all, in a contest Musona scored on his debut.
Musona this time returns to Monrovia as captain and at the top of his game, despite the frustration surrounding lack of game time at his newly found home at Anderlecht in Belgium.
Having scored 4 goals, the same number as Liberia put together, the ‘Smiling Assassin’ will be a key player in a squad that may prove difficult to contain, given the attacking prowess at the disposal of Chidzambwa.
Put aside a solid defence, the attacking threat posed by the likes of Musona, Khama Billiat, and Evans Rusike could expose defensive vulnerabilities that have seen Liberia concede 8 goals in 4 outings.
The Warriors had an afternoon workout at the match venue yesterday, and the Group G leaders will have another run out at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex today.
Sam Johnson who plays out in Norway for Valerenga has been ruled out of tomorrow’s encounter but the Lone Star will be looking up to bright prospect Mohammed Sangare, who turns out for Newcastle’s under 23 side.
Also in the Liberia squad is the vastly experienced Anthony Laffor of Mamelodi Sundowns as well as Boison Wyney who turns out for Real Mallorca B in Spain.
Bookies will tell you it is highly improbable for Liberia to get a win on Sunday, but it is out in the field where the result will be ultimately determined.