TWENTY SEVEN years after Congo Brazzaville denied Zimbabwe a maiden qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations, the two teams meet this coming Sunday for a slot at the 2019 edition.
With the Warriors in the driving seat, goalkeeper John Sibanda’s late howler at the National Sports Stadium earned a point for the visitors and the ticket to the 1992 edition, leaving the dreams of a nation shattered.
The Warriors go into next Sunday’s clash at the Stade Alphones Massamba Debat in Brazzaville without three key players — Costa Nhamoinesu, Ovidy Karuru and Marvellous Nakamba — who are out due to injuries.
Ronald Pfumbidzai, Danny Phiri and Liberty Chakoroma have been roped in as replacements.
Team manager Wellington Mpandare said the team will go into camp on Monday at the Yadah Hotel.
“We have made replacements for those who have been injured and we will be getting into the camp on Monday because some of the local players have games over the weekend,” he said.
Mpandare said they were finalising on the travelling arrangements but the team would leave on September 7 and arrive a day before the match.
“We are still finalising with the airlines because they want the names as soon as possible, but we will have the final list as the week progresses,” he said.
Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa hopes to replicate his Cosafa success at Afcon.
The veteran coach took over from caretaker coach Norman Mapeza who was in charge when the team thrashed Liberia 3-0 at the National Sports Stadium last year with star striker Knowledge Musona grabbing a hat-trick. Congo were beaten 3-1 in their opener against DR Congo who are second in the group.
Zimbabwe are currently on top of the group on goal difference.
Chidzambwa will be banking on Musona and Kaizer Chiefs’ star Khama Billiat to drive the Warriors to success.