HomeOpinionWounded Warriors face Mambas

Eric Bloch: Biti got it wrong

The two neighbours are without any points going into the second round of matches after the hosts fell 2-0 to group favourites Egypt on Saturday, while Zimbabwe succumbed 1-0 at home against Guinea.

But Mozambique, the group’s bottom seeds, are hoping to get maximum points in their first home match, whilst Zimbabwe are desperate to get points that can help breathe life into a campaign already grasping for air.

Gumbo expects open play with both sides attacking with the aim of securing all three points, but he believes the Warriors will prevail.

“This match is going to be exciting; both teams are desperate as a draw will not benefit either so it’s going to be an open pound for pound punch up and I am sure in the end we will bring home the points,” said Gumbo.

Strikers Knowledge Musona and Takesure Chinyama hold the key to these ambitions as they will have to rediscover their scoring touch after goals eluded the usually reliable pair in the match against Guinea last Sunday.

For Gumbo, “The best part of this contest is that it will not be played in Zimbabwe. Considering what happened on Sunday, there is just so much pressure on the players; some of them are still very young and they cannot handle such pressure.

“I do not understand the fans’ behavior at times; they booed the players and that affected their performance to a great extent. You could see the players were under pressure particularly Musona who was hurrying his shots. We will be playing away from home and we will have all the freedom to go about our business without such pressure. I am sure if we get the points the fans will treat us better in the coming home matches, particularly the one against Burundi.”

Mozambique’s record in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers shows that they are quite a strong side at home with victories against Tunisia, Kenya and a nil-all draw against Nigeria.

But their campaign for Afcon 2012 however shows that they can be beaten in their own home ground as they have only won against the Comoros and lost to Libya and Zambia.

That records should give Zimbabwe hope, but then again Mozambique will also find encouragement in the Warriors away record which lately has been poor, yielding three defeats in the last three matches.

The Warriors lost to Cape Verde and Mali after managing a draw against Liberia, and then the latest loss to Burundi in the Afcon 2013 campaign.

A defeat for the Warriors would spell yet another premature end to the campaign — amounting to probably the feeblest attempt in recent memory.

Zimbabwe usually makes good use of its wing play, but last Sunday Ovidy Karuru was anonymous in the first half but improved in the second, while Khama Billiat was not at his best.

The two will have to hit a purple patch if the Warriors are to triumph while Tinashe Nengomasha, who controlled midfield proceedings in the last match, only needs to continue from where he left.

Mozambique has several players plying their trade in Portugal with Jumisse at Portimense and Mexer at Olhanense, but the Warriors are unfazed.

David Mandigora has inside information having worked in Mozambique, and has warned the Warriors that they face a tough challenge in Maputo.

Both teams favour the 4-4-2 formation which has got its critics at home with some arguing that it’s outdated, but whoever seizes midfield control stands a better chance of taking maximum points.

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