THE Sables will attempt to conquer Africa tomorrow when they take on Uganda in the Africa Cup final in Tunisa.The national men’s team kept their England 2015 World Cup hopes alive when they beat Tunisia, subsequently maintaining a spot in Group 1A.
They will need to do the same again next year in order to maintain a spot for the global showcase.
The four countries in Group 1A by the end of next year will have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup, a feat Zimbabwe last achieved in 1991.
Whoever becomes 2014 Africa Cup champions will automatically qualify for the England showcase, while the runners-up will have another fighting chance in the play-offs.
After keeping their World Cup flame burning, the Sables seek to make their intentions clearer by winning the Africa Cup for the first time.
Zimbabwe has gone a full year without tasting defeat, winning the Victoria Cup last year and also gaining promotion into Group 1A, beating both Kenya and Uganda on the way.
Uganda beat Kenya in their semi-final while Zimbabwe won against hosts Tunisia.
Assistant coach Cyprian Mandenge, who was involved in preparing the team for this tournament but did not travel to Tunisia, said Zimbabwe had a good chance of emerging from Tunis as African champions.
“I think we have a good chance of winning the cup, we prepared well, the guys know the standards we set ourselves, we have gone for a long time without defeat and we want to continue winning,” said Mandenge.
Mandenge said while the match was going to be tough Zimbabwe has a psychological edge stemming from past results.
“I think the fact that we beat them twice last year will work in our favour, we are not under any pressure and we are confident. The match is obviously going to be tough but I am sure the plan is to just play to the best of our ability. The Ugandans are very big but they fail to utilise that advantage. Our aim is to run with the ball and avoid contact. The guys will try to hit Uganda on the counter attack.”
Zimbabwe benefitted from tries by Jan Ferreira, Tangai Nemadire
and Jacques Leitao as well as
penalties from Tichafara Makwanya (2) and Linience Tambwera in their 30-14 win over Tunisia on Tuesday.
Mandenge said while the World Cup is still far off, it is important for Zimbabwe to win this match and maintain momentum.
“Besides, winning the cup on Saturday is important because the guys will maintain confidence as we draw closer to World cup qualifiers.”
Denford Mutamangira, Prayer Chitenderu, Jakov Jakov, Costa Dinha, Jan Ferreira, Shingirai Mpofu, Jacques Leitao, Norman Mukondiwa, Scotty Jones, Tichafara Makwanya, Kuda Chiwanza, Daniel Hondo, Cleopas Makotose, Tangai Nemadire and Raymond De Jong.
Replacements: Brian Makamure, Piet Joubert, Tatenda Karuru, Fortune Chipendu, T.J Chofokoyo, Charles Jiji, Gardner Nechironga, Josh Rowe and Linience Tambwera.