IT was supposed to be a crucial Brazil 2014 World qualifier, but while it retains the name, the Zimbabwe-Mozambiaque clash at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday will be important and useful for the Warriors and Mambas who have both qualified for the African Nations Championships (Chan).
Egypt has already qualified to the next round of World Cup qualifiers from the pool.
Both teams have no chance of progressing further in the world showcase with the hosts anchoring the four-nation log with just one point gained when the two clashed in Maputo, while the Mambas have picked up three points leaving Sunday’s match as a mere sparring platform ahead of Chan.
It is an opportunity for Zimbabwe coach Ian Gorowa to further asses his charges with just four months left before the Chan finals in South Africa.
Gorowa is the third coach to preside over the Warriors in the World Cup campaign after Rahman Gumbo and Klaus Dieter Pagels, and his is for now an easier job.
The Warriors’ international friendly match against South Africa was finally confirmed yesterday and will take place at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday night at 8:30 pm.
Gorowa has picked a predominantly South African-based squad for the match as he begins working on his squad for the 2015 Afcon qualifiers.
The friendly match is likely to be an explosive encounter and will present the Warriors with a rare chance for international friendly matches.
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said he was looking forward to the challenge of facing the Warriors.
“I am happy that the match will take place at one of the country’s homes of soccer and playing Zimbabwe always brings the best out of my players,” Igesund said.
Gorowa will be pleased at the prospect of pooling together the South African-based players against a strong opposition, but his mind will be focused on the immediate challenge.
The locally-based Warriors, unimpressive on home soil in the second-leg of their first round qualifier against Mauritius and in the first-leg of the final qualifier against Zambia where they drew 0-0, will be eager to win admirers with sound performance in front of their fans.
The stage is set for them to play free from the pressure of a must-win, but a good performance is essential.
Gorowa is aware of areas he needs to tweak and will demand a polished performance as he looks ahead to more important challenges. He will demand that his team continues to push and press as if it was in a pressure situation, and will also demand goals.
The draw for Chan will be held in Cairo on September 18.
Mozambique, which upstaged Angola to progress to the Chan finals, has included Mamelodi Sundowns’ Elias Pelembe in its squad as well as Stelio Marcelino Ernesto of Ajax Cape Town who played against Dynamos in the Caf Champions League while still at Liga Muculumana.
Mozambique will also give its locally-based players a run as it focuses on the Chan tournament next year.
Zimbabwe has added Kaizer Chief’s Willard Katsande to the squad that faces Mozambique while retaining the bulk of the team that played in the Chan qualifiers.
The 16 teams that will go into the pot on September 18 include, South Africa (hosts), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Warriors Squad for South Africa: Washington Arubi (Pretoria University), Munyaradzi Diya (Highlanders), Khama Billiart, Cuthbert Malajila (Mamelodi Sundowns), Eusebio Manwere, Onismor Bhasera, Denver Mukamba, Carrington Nyadombo (Amazulu), Kingstone Nkatha, Knowledge Musona, (Kaizer Chiefs), Willard Katsande, Oscar Machapa (Dynamos), Felix Chindugwe (Chicken Inn).
Warriors Squad for Mozambique: George Chigova, Partson Jaure, Devon Chafa, Tawanda Muparati, Oscar Machapa (Dynamos), Munyaradzi Diya, Masimba Mambare, Peter Moyo, Bruce Kangwa, Milton Ncube (Highlanders), Tafadzwa Dube, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Dominic Chungwa (CAPS United), Eric Chipeta (Hwange), Ali Sadiki, Nelson Maziwisa, Charles Sibanda, Donald Ngoma (FC Platinum), Felix Chindungwe, Kuda Mahachi, Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Silas Songani (Harare City), Obey Mwerahari (Monomotapa), Blessing Chimwamuchere (Triangle), Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs).