Warriors coach Ian Gorowa is confident locally-based players can form a good base for the national squad to build on towards the 2015 Afcon qualifiers.
The local contingent is contending for a place at the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals and will have to navigate their way past rivals Zambia whom they face in the first leg of the final qualifier at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Gorowa said it was important for the team to make it to the Chan finals in South Africa if it is to build a firm foundation for the 2015 Afcon qualifiers.
“This tournament is part of our preparations for the Afcon qualifiers; that’s why qualification to the finals is very important,” said Gorowa.
“We are looking at this tournament as an opportunity to build a foundation for the 2015 Afcon tournament. The locally-based players have been impressive. So far they have been doing well, but it’s a process, its work in progress. We still need to continue working, there is always something coming up.
“For instance, in the last game, we wanted to put the ball at the flanks and get the crosses in, but there came another problem as they were struggling to finish off chances. So, while they have been doing well, there are some things that we need to work on. We will need more time with the players.”
After losing to Zambia in the Cosafa final last month, the Warriors will be looking to redeem themselves against their trans-Zambezi rivals.
The two-legged qualifier will conclude in Zambia the following Sunday and the Warriors will be looking to carry a healthy lead.
Whatever win at home will suffice for Gorowa who is looking to instill confidence in the team, especially his strike force.
He concedes, however, that the task will be a tough one.
“It’s going to be a difficult game for both teams, but we have to utilise our home advantage. We have prepared well. We know the Zambians, we played against them in the Cosafa Cup; we are well-prepared, we expect to do well in front of our fans.
“The incentive on the part of the players is to play at the finals. I think it is very important that we qualify. The players are highly motivated to beat Zambia and Chipolopolo do not play well away from home, so we want to take advantage of that.”
Despite dominating play, the Warriors still fell short of an expected goal harvest with strikers taking turns to either shoot tamely or wide against Mauritius last week.
“Looking at it now, I think it was good we played out a draw against Mauritius. I think the players now realise that there is no easy game. They have to work hard to win matches.”
Caps United striker Dominic Chungwa has been recalled to the squad after Nelson Mazivisa and Tendayi Ndoro struggled in front of goal. How Mine’s Simba Sithole is also in the frame and Gorowa — together with his assistants Kalisto Pasuwa, Mkhupali Masuku and Jairos Tapera — will have to come up with the right combination upfront.
Captain Masimba Mambare will be expected to play a key role, as is his Highlanders teammate Milton Ncube, on the flanks.