SOCCER legend Ephraim Chawanda says the Warriors can beat Mali in the African Nations Championship (Chan) finals at Cape Town Stadium in South Africa tomorrow.
Speaking from his Botswana base yesterday, the former Warriors and Zimbabwe Saints defender said he had been following the national team in the group stages of the tournament.
Chawanda — nicknamed the Rock of Gibraltar during the late Reinhard Fabisch-coached “Dream Team” — said he believed in the calibre of local-based players making up the squad, but hoped the coaches had been working intensively on the strike force.
Zimbabwe has only scored a single goal in their last three matches — Masimba Mambare’s winner against Burkina Faso — which saw the Warriors squeeze through to with five points.
They played goalless draws against Morocco and Uganda. Chawanda said head coach Ian “Dibango” Gorowa and his lieutenants Kalisto Pasuwa and Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku should work hard on the team’s forwards.
“I have been following closely the boys’ matches in the group stages and we are creating a lot of chances, but not managing to finish them off,” he said.
The boys have been playing very well and I believe we have capable coaches who can find a solution to that scoring crisis.
“The boys should just be focused. They are already there and at times you have to close yourselves from the outside world, play for the coach, for yourselves and play for the country. I believe we are going to win. I am not one person to say who will carry the day for the boys or single out anyone, but I believe in working hard and team work.”
Chawanda said it was in times like these that Zifa should offer financial incentives for the boys and give them encouragement
“The team has performed fairly well save for the inability to finish the chances that they create. Hopefully, the coaches are mindful that it’s now a knockout stage.
“Hopefully now Zifa will stand up to motivate the boys financially, as we all know that this is now a football of economics. To the boys, I say honour your coaches, play for them, for your own dignity, play your hearts out and most importantly for your country. Make us proud and win this tournament for us,” he said.
Chawanda played alongside the likes of the charismatic goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, the late Mercedes Sibanda, Francis Shonhayi, Benjamin Nkonjera, the late Adam “Adamski” Ndlovu and his brother Peter, John Phiri, Henry “Bully” McKop, Norman Mapeza, Rahman Gumbo, Madinda Ndlovu and Agent “Ajira” Sawu.
The contingent of players, plying their trade in the local Premier Soccer League, have made history by making it into the quarter-
finals of the Chan tournament after two failed attempts in 2009 and 2011, but have a tough encounter against the West Africans tomorrow night.