ZIMBABWE coach Ian Gorowa wants to move a gear up in instilling a “habit of winning” in his Warriors this afternoon when they take on visiting Mauritius in an African Nations Championships (Chan) qualifier first round, second leg at Rufaro Stadium.
The Warriors overpowered the islanders 3-0 in the reverse fixture at a waterlogged New George V Stadium in Curepipe, Mauritius, last weekend to take a commanding lead that could make this afternoon’s job easy.
It was a convincing start for Gorowa on his first day in office since he assumed the Warriors job nearly two weeks ago.
But what makes today’s match more significant is that it would be the 41-year-old’s first home game in charge of the national team.
A buoyant Gorowa has boldly declared his mission of introducing a culture of success into the Warriors’ dressing room.
“We might have beaten Mauritius 3-0 in their own backyard, but the game is not finished yet. The work to create a habit of winning continues,” Grorowa said.
“Once that spirit of winning is in the team, the players would build in confidence and would be ready for any challenge. This is work in progress and so far the players have been showing willingness and the right attitude to attain that spirit.”
But this culture has not been synonymous with the Warriors who have often shortchanged their success-starved loyal fans.
The Warriors will, however, be expected to complete a clean sweep of the islanders who last beat them on August 29 1982 in a friendly international at Port Louis in what was the first-ever clash between the two countries.
Negotiating their way to the Chan finals past next round opponents – likely to be Zambia – would certainly provide a stern test to the introduction of new blood that would form a winning DNA.
“What made me accept this job was patriotism. I am a Zimbabwean and so keen to see my country competing at the highest stage. I have set out not only to qualify for Chan, but to do well at the tournament. One eye is on Zambia as our next probable opponents and I am relishing that challenge,” Gorowa said.
The prospect of a striking partnership of double-scorer in Mauritius, Nelson Mazivisa, and returning Tendai Ndoro, who missed the first leg while on trials in South Africa, is Gorowa’s strongest point.
The Warriors armoury also has Dynamos diminutive linkman Tawanda Muparati, Milton Ncube and captain Masimba Mambare.
Triangle left-back Blessing Chimwamuchere is expected to make his Warriors debut in the absence of Augustine Mbara and Ocean Mushure.
What could make Gorowa’s task easier this afternoon is that Mauritius appear to have lost any hopes of performing the Herculean task of clawing back into contention.
Their fading hopes could be detected in their coach Akbar Patel.
“It is very difficult to overturn a 3-0 deficit, but we will try our best. Zimbabwe are far ahead of us in terms of maturity and their level of football. We played a good game in the first leg, but we could not win. So beating a team at home will be difficult,” Patel said.
Mauritius’ Pithia twin brothers of Fabrice and Fabian, operating on the left and right sides of the pitch respectively, were threatening in the first leg.
Fabrice was a menace to Zimbabwean defenders especially right-back Hardlife Zvirekwi, centre-back Erick Chipeta and roaming defensive midfielder Devon Chafa.
Working on a rain-soaked afternoon, their goalkeeper Aboo Bakar Augustin’s hands seemed slippery as he struggled to deal with long-range shots.
Defensive linkman Angelo Coco and Stephane Pierre could carry the day for the visitors.
Zimbabwe: T Dube, P Jaure, B Chimwamuchere, E Chipeta, H Zvirekwi, D Chafa, M Ncube, M Mambare, T Muparati, N Maziwisa, T Ndoro
Mauritius: B Augustine, H Buckland, J Estazie, J Permal, S Pierre, A Coco, J Bazerole, C Veeranah, FJ Pithia, FL Pithia, J Calambe