Warriors target Afcon’s ‘big four’

Kevin Mapasure

AMBITIOUS Zimbabwe football administration has targeted Africa’s big four for international friendlies this year.
Zifa will meet football federations from the four semi-finalists in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea ahead of the Afcon final at the weekend with a view to tempting them for sparring matches on dates in August and November falling on the Fifa calendar.
Ivory Coast played and beat Mali 1-0 while Zambia got a final berth courtesy of the same scoreline over Ghana.

While top of their agenda will be to continue to knock on the Fifa door for the US$2mn recapitalisation grant, importantly too they will seek to get international friendlies with the continent’s best.

“The major issue for us is to continue to push Fifa for the grant but we are taking this opportunity to meet up with federations from these top teams and request for friendly matches,” said Zifa CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze.

But Zimbabwe has tried and failed in the past to lure both Ghana and Ivory Coast while they have not had trouble securing matches against neighbours Zambia.

“We have a chance to talk to them face to face and our profile has improved in the last few years; our rankings have also improved so we have a good chance to get two of the big guns. We have players playing in good leagues and we have had good results of late; we have proven that we are a good team.”

He said that with the likes of Knowledge Musona who is plying his trade in the Bundesliga at FC Hoffenheim and Onisimor Bhasera playing in England Zimbabwe was a strong side.

Zimbabwe beat Mali 2-1 and also won 2-0 against Zambia before upstaging South Africa 2-1– all at Rufaro stadium.

August 15 and November 14 are the two dates that Zifa are looking to fill up with friendly matches against top opposition

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Crippling finances have seen the Warriors engaging lighter opposition within the region in recent years.

After failing to take up the offer to host the African women’s Championships Zifa will take the opportunity to meet Caf and discuss junior tournaments that the country can host.

“Caf is willing to give us some tournaments we can stage, so we are looking at under-20 and under -17 tournaments. They had offered us the Women’s Championships which we could not take up at that time but we are ready to host junior tournaments with the view to eventually bid for Afcon in future.”

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