2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) hosted by Egypt, who are hosting it for the fifth time: becoming the most country organising this championship. It goes without saying that Egypt is the most successful nation in the cup’s history, with a record of seven titles within their accolades cabinet.
Soccer has proven, over time, to unite people – a nation, as it once played a crucial role in the 1960s where soccer was a unifying force against Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front by the majority of natives. Could this tournament bring that oneness again? Shunning political, religious or tribal differences and have one goal, the Warriors we want at 2019 AFCON.
Despite the economic meltdown the Southern African nation is currently facing, Warriors progress beyond the group stages might give a sigh of relief and rejuvenated hope and possibly, forgetting the decaying economy and tattered social fabric. But only if…if Zimbabwe pull a shocker against the hosting team with its star player, Mohamed Salah, who won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool on June 1, 2019 and still basking in victorious mode.
Zimbabwe will be present on the continental show case for the fourth time. Warriors are bracing themselves for the tournament as they seek to progress from the group stages for the first time. The Warriors were knocked out early in 2004, 2006 and 2017. The current coach, Sunday Chidzabga is the same man who took the warriors to maiden appearance at Tunisia 2004. Can he surpass this bar by passing the group stages? Can he pull the trick once again and advance to the next stage? Are warriors going there to make numbers as in the last three participation they came back counting losses? No Zimbabwean will answer otherwise on these question as the nation expect more from the Warriors. All eyes on the brave Warriors who took four points off DRC in the AFCON 2019 qualifying campaign.
Previous national team assignments have been marred by poor preparations and unpaid allowances exacerbated by financial capacity heightened by troubled Zimbabwe Football Association under the former administration of now COSAFA President Philip Chiyangwa. Zimbabwe had probably their longest camp after taking part in the COSAFA Cup before flying to Nigeria where they played the Super Eagles in an international friendly match last weekend.
The Zimbabwe governing body, Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) headed by Felton Kamambo are optimistic that the Egypt 2019 AFCON tournament has presented a perfect opportunity to take Zimbabwe football brand high up there as compete with the best in Africa. Warriors talisman and captain Knowledge Musona is confident the senior national soccer team has prepared enough to dream of securing a place in the last 16 when the Africa Cup of Nations gets underway in Egypt this Friday
All high hopes of this magnitude have been triggered by the resounding support tone set from the apex of the country. Soon after the Warriors qualified for AFCON 2019, the President of Zimbabwe Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed a committee to source funds for the cause of our senior national team. The Committee hosted a fundraising dinner with the President as the guest. The guest of the night rose up to the occasion by donating USD200 000 and 300 000 local currency. Since then business community (local and abroad) are showering their support in every form. Some Zimbabwean based in South Africa have pledged prizes scored for each goal. Zimbabwe had not seen such a gesture, support and love for the success of the nations. All Zimbabweans from different walks of life combining forces for the love of the game.
Zimbabwe over the years
The Warriors produced some players who made an impact on the international football arena. These include Peter Ndlovu who played for Sheffield United in the English Premier League in the 90s, Benjani Mwaruwari who played for Manchester City and Portsmouth, Khama Billiat who won the South African 2016 Soccer Star of the Year Award, among others. The current team has the finest in the form of Khama Biiliat who is based in South Africa and Knowledge Musona who ply his trade in Belgium. Zimbabwe Warriors’ captain Musona has scored 22 goals in 34 outings for the country.
Egypt are considered the favourites to top the group, but the other teams in the group have what it takes to qualify to the next stage. Uganda beat The Pharaohs in the World Cup qualifying campaign, while Zimbabwe upset DRC in the AFCON 2019 qualifying campaign. Let the best team win, its game on…..
Article from AFRIC Editorial
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