By Skilder Makona
The Zimbabwe senior men national football team has left the country for Botswana ahead of their make-or-break Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Zebras in Francistown this Thursday.
As Zimbabwe date Botswana in an AFCON qualifier in Francistown today, the Warriors are alive to what is at stake for them to qualify for the prestigious African football showpiece set for Cameroon next year.
The Warriors are also aware that they have destiny in their hands and confident they will conquer.
“The players are raring to go and are physically and psychologically prepared for what lies ahead. Despite missing some of the key players, we still believe in these boys that we have and its their time to shine and prove that they can represent their country with pride. We are not reading much into our opponents and what they were promised but what we know is we are going to qualify in the AFCON finals, Warriors assistant coach Tonderai Ndiraya said.
Warriors midfielder Romario Matova said, “I feel honoured to be part of this squad playing with big boys like Knowledge Musona, Aleck Mudimu and Teenage Hadebe. Given a chance I promise to put in my all, be a team player and help my country earn qualification.”
Zimbabwe and Botswana will be meeting for the 18th time when the two teams clash at the Francistown Stadium in the Group H AFCON qualifier this Thursday.
In terms of the head to head statistics, Zimbabwe has 10 wins and 5 losses while the other three matches ended in draws
The Zebras who are hoping to qualify for their second continental showpiece in Cameroon, after making history in 2012 when they progressed to the Nations Cup finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea ahead of Tunisia, Malawi, Togo and Chad, are no push-overs.
With four points in Group H of the AFCON qualifiers, the Zebras have managed to collect 3 from their two matches against Zambia, while their away match against Zimbabwe ended in a stalemate at the National Sports Stadium.
The Zebras have, however, been dealt a major blow after their star duo of Kabelo Seakanyeng and Tumisang Orebonye who ply their trade in Morocco were barred from travelling for the game, while Zambia-based midfielder Mothusi Cooper, is also out of the Warriors tie after accumulating three yellow cards in the qualifiers.