GOING into battle armed with just but experience, Zimbabwe could find shoddy preparations backfiring on them should they take on Malawi in tomorrow’s 2008 African Nations Cup qualifier expecting victory on a silver platter.
>Zimbabwe will be playing their first competitive match since their 2-1 win over Ghana at the Nations Cup finals in Egypt, but a third consecutive berth at the biennial showcase will not be an easy undertaking.
Only the winner of the three-team Group 12, which also involves favourites Morocco, will get the ticket to the Ghana finals.
Morocco, who are inactive this weekend, lead the group after they overcame Malawi 2-0 in the first round of qualifiers during which Zimbabwe were on a bye.
Granted, Malawi have not had it easy after they fired their German coach Burkhard Ziese last week, but Zimbabwe’s own preparations have not been good either.
Although most of the players Charles Mhlauri called up for duty reported for camp in time, the Warriors coach has not been afforded an opportunity to assess his charges in a game situation since the Nations Cup finals in January.
This leaves the Warriors banking on experience — not thorough preparations — as they hope to overcome Malawi in their backyard.
Although veteran striker Peter Ndlovu has not made the Malawi trip, the man who has taken over his captain’s armband — Benjani Mwaruwari — will be hard-pressed to inspire the Warriors.
In Esrom Nyandoro, Zvenyika Makonese, Joel Luphahla, Tinashe Nengomasha and Shingi Kawondera, Zimbabwe have what it takes to return home with maximum points.
But Malawi’s foreign-based contingent — including Peter Mponda, Robert Ng’ambi, Swadick Sanudi, Russell Mwafulirwa and Joseph Kamwendo — can only be underrated at one’s peril.
And the Flames will have a 12th man in the home crowd. — Staff Writer.