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Warriors in Desert chase

Enock Muchinjo

THE Warriors could do themselves a great favour if they come out with a win away to Algeria in the World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

l, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Zimbabwe are only three points adrift of Group Four joint-leaders Nigeria and Angola, who clash in a top-of-the-table tie in Nigeria tomorrow.

The result of the Nigeria/Angola qualifier tomorrow is likely to determine the favourites for the World Cup in Germany next year. Nigeria are on a revenge mission after Angola brought them down 0-1 in Luanda in the reverse fixture last year.

Zimbabwe are hard pressed to make sure the top teams do not increase the points gap. Charles Mhlauri’s men left the country on Wednesday evening confident of overcoming bottom-placed Algeria, who are not enjoying the best of form at the moment.

But if the Warriors are to collect their third consecutive set of three points, their dreary performance against Gabon a fortnight ago should only serve to drive the team to produce better stuff.

The Warriors have not been too bad away from home so far in this campaign, winning once, drawing once and losing once. Algeria, who held Zimbabwe to a one-all draw in the reverse fixture in Harare last year, don’t need to be reminded of what they are up against on Sunday. The Desert Foxes will be wary of remaining at the bottom after the weekend’s round of matches.

However, Algeria are an experienced team with great character and can play very effective technique-filled football if they are in the mood. The Desert Foxes have not been the dangerous outfit they were in Tunisia at the Nations Cup last year, but are not everyone’s punching bag.

There will be changes in the Zimbabwe team with first-choice goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro out of the match through illness.

France-based star striker Benjani Mwaruwari returns to partner captain Peter Ndlovu and Shingi Kawondera upfront, while defender Zvenyika Makonese comes back in central defence after serving a one-match suspension.

Zimbabwe squad

Tapuwa Kapini, Gift Muzadzi, George Mbwando, Dumisani Mpofu, Zvenyika Makonese, Charles Yohane, Esrom Nyandoro, Ronald Sibanda, Joel Luphahla, Shingi Kawondera, Cephas Chimedza, James Matola, Edelbert Dinha, Tinashe Nengomashe, Eddie Mashiri, Brian Badza, Benjani Mwaruwari, Peter Ndlovu.

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