WARRIORS coach Ian Gorowa said there will be no excuse for failure when his side host Zambia in the African Nations Championships (Chan) final round first-leg match at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Zambia has already beaten the Warriors twice this year, including a 2-0 hiding in the Cosafa Castle Senior Challenge Cup final on July 20, but Gorowa said his team had learnt their lesson and were ready to turn the tables against the former African champions.
Chipolopolo, without their talisman Mukuka Mulenga out injured, are expected in the country today and their government has provided a number of buses to their supporters for this match. Speaking after an intensive training session at Gwanzura Stadium yesterday, Gorowa declared his team was ready for the battle.
“Obviously I would have wanted more time to prepare, but it’s not an excuse. We had one week before going to Mauritius. We had another four days in Mauritius and we have this whole week to try and work on our weaknesses and our strength,” Gorowa said.
The former Dynamos and Rhinos striker challenged his troops to shine, revealing that those who would do well will make it into the squad for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2015 qualifiers.
“Our immediate task is to qualify for Chan, but while we play in Chan it’ll also part of the preparations towards the 2015 Afcon. That is why I’m saying it’s key for us to play at the Chan because we are going to use it as preparations for bigger tournaments. So it’s very important that we utilise the opportunity to qualify for Chan.
“If you look at the Nigerian team, probably half or three quarters of their squad play in Nigeria and when they come to Chan they will bring their whole squad. So we also want to do that and try to build the best team with our locally-based players,” Gorowa said.
He noted that Zimbabwe’s main downfall in their defeat to Zambia in the Cosafa Cup was failing to deal with set-pieces in the box. Against Mauritius at home, Gorowa said his team failed to utilise the numerous chances they created. All that had been sorted out and Gorowa expected a perfect performance from his side.
“We know what Zambia does when attacking set-pieces. They always put a man in front of the opposition goalkeeper, so we have spoken about that and everybody is aware of it.
“The whole week we have been practising finishing, trying to put the ball into the nets because sometimes I think the players lack that confidence to put the ball into the back of the net. We were creating chances and we were not utilising them, so this was what we were rectifying at training.
It was good that we played a one-all draw against Mauritius, although obviously we wanted to win. But I think the players now realise there is no easy game. And we will be playing Zambia.”
But in all his show of confidence ahead of the Sunday match, Gorowa still admitted that Zambia posed the greatest challenge in his team’s quest to qualify for the finals.
“It will not be an easy game for both teams, so we have to use our home advantage. We have prepared a big fight for them and we expect to do well and win the match. I spoke to the players about Zambia, but I didn’t want to highlight the fact they have been beating us for some time, because if you remind them it’s not a good thing.
“I told them that we will be playing at home and we just have to win the match. Also the incentive on the part of the players is to play in the Chan and I think that’s very important for the players, so they are highly motivated to beat Chipolopolo. Zambia doesn’t play well away from home. Just like any other team we will have to utilise that home advantage.”
The Warriors coach said he would welcome any positive scoreline on Sunday before the decisive return leg in Ndola on August 24.
“The ideal scoreline is a win. Any winning margin will be good for us,” Gorowa said.