Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo believes Angola will be under immense pressure when the two sides meet in the second-leg of the Afcon final round qualifier in Luanda on Sunday.
Report by Kevin Mapasure
Gumbo’s biggest problem this week has been to trim his squad to 18 because for once in a very long time, he is spoilt for choice.
But today he has to chop 12 players from the 30 in camp.
“The toughest thing will be to come up with the final 18 players,” said Gumbo. “The guys have been fighting hard for places and certain choices will be very difficult but it’s got to be done
and we will do that after one more training session tomorrow (today).”
While the final squad will be named today, Gumbo hinted that there might not be many changes from the squad that did duty in the 3-1 first-leg win in Harare.
Most positions are contested after six players whose Asiagate suspension was lifted this week joined the squad.
Gumbo has six goalkeepers in camp with the experienced duo of Energy Murambadoro and Ephraim Mazarura also in the mix.
Gumbo said the battle in Luanda would not be confined to the physical aspect, but would also be fought psychologically.
He is hoping his starting 11 would be mentally prepared for the tough encounter.
But he also believes Angola, already on the back foot after the first-leg defeat, faces more pressure from an expectant home crowd demanding a positive result.
“They are definitely under pressure and we are looking to use that to our advantage. Their fans really love the national team. In fact they worship the team and they will be expecting good results. It will be tough for both teams but we know they will seek an early goal. We are ready for that and we hope the effort the players have been putting at training will be exhibited come Sunday.
“We will be positive. We carry a healthy lead but we cannot go there to defend or play for a draw. We will play to win. I think that way we will make it even tougher for them.”
Gumbo faces a selection headache in the strike force where he has, among others, Knowledge Musona, Takesure Chinyama, Kingston Nkatha, Edward Sadomba, Khama Billiat, Abbas Amidu, Donald Ngoma and Cuthbert Malajila.
After enduring lots of criticism about his tactics and team selection, Gumbo has soldiered on and is now on the brink of taking the Warriors to the finals of the tournament to be held in South Africa next year.
But it will be no mean task against a determined Angola side that showed in the latter stages of the first leg that it is a decent side.
Although all eyes would be on deadly striker Manucho, Angola showed it has other strikers who can rise to the occasion.