Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa is prepared to throw his usual defence-first philosophy away in favour of an attack-minded approach that he hopes will suffocate Guinea when Zimbabwe hosts the West African nation at the hard-surfaced Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Pasuwa prefers men of steel in his teams, with a sprinkling of flair, but judging from his squad the Warriors will throw everything into attack in search of a win that will help their quest for Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification.
The formula for qualifying appears simple, at least on paper — win all your home games and try to pick up points away from home. The Warriors made a good start with a 2-1 away win against Malawi in the Afcon 2017 qualifier first leg, and need to follow that up with another win at home.
It seems Pasuwa is determined to ensure that the afternoon will be as tough as can be for Guinea. Rufaro Stadium’s artificial surface will probably help his cause as it is difficult to play on for those not used to it.
But the Warriors will also need to attack with ferocious intensity to get the job done; apparently that is what Pasuwa is priming his success-hungry Warriors for.
He has assembled a squad that oozes goals with the inclusion of Hamstards BK forward Matthew Rusike, Belgian-based attacker Knowledge Musona, Sundowns’ Nyasha Mushekwi and Cuthbert Malajila, Khama Billiat and Kuda Mahachi.
Pasuwa faces a selection dilemma with so much quality at his disposal for all positions.
But one player that has got the fans buzzing is Rusike, an instant hit at Halmstards BK after scoring three goals in his first four matches.
Rusike believes his short spell in Europe has improved his game and he will bring more to the team than he might have had he stayed in South Africa.
“It’s a great honour to come and represent my country as I have been in good form for my club,” said Rusike in an interview yesterday. “It’s different out there (Europe) tactically and structure-wise. The levels in Europe are higher. It teaches you to be more tactically aware so the experience that I have gained will be precious for the team. I can offer a bit of advice to others and we can always exchange notes.
“We have got quality players here so there is a lot of competition and that is healthy. Everyone is working hard to get into the team; it’s difficult to predict the players that will start on Sunday.”
Also bringing experience and expertise from Europe is Sparta Prague full-back Costa Nhamoinesu.
Pasuwa might have chosen to recall him because he was also charmed by the lanky defender’s goal-scoring exploits.
This season he has already scored three goals, two in the Europa League and one in the domestic one.
Pasuwa is spoilt for choice particularly upfront where Musona, Mushekwi and Malajila have all been in top form.
Musona has so far scored four goals for his club while Mushekwi scored 12 goals for Dugardens before he left last week, with Malajila also on the scoring charts down south.
For once everything has generally gone well in the Warriors camp.
The news is that Guinea will be missing their Bundesliga super star Ibrahima Traore, providing more reasons for optimism in the Warriors camp.
The Borussia M’gladbach attacker is reportedly injured and is not part of the squad that camped in South Africa for the last four days. Missing too is France-based defender Abdoul Camara Razagui, but Trabonspor’s Kevin Constant and Florentin Pogba are part of the group that arrives in Harare today.
History does not favour Zimbabwe in the tie with the Warriors failing to win in their last four meetings with Guinea, a team that has many European based players, but the Warriors are determined to change that trend.