ZIMBABWE’S Chan qualifier preliminary round, first leg tie against Comoros at Rufaro this afternoon could be an easy task as their opponents yesterday appeared preoccupied by the sight of seductively-dressed sex workers stationed in Harare’s red light zone, the Avenues area.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The Comoros are booked at a hotel in the Avenues area and some players could be seen trying to start up conversations with the prostitutes.
Even team officials seemed mesmerised and overzealous, throwing friendly gazes at the sex workers.
A team official and three players clad in green tracksuits even walked up Five Avenue and disappeared around a block of flats.
“They do not have enough US dollars so many of them are not winning us,” said a sex worker who identified herself as Lizzy.
So unrestricted were the players’ interaction with the public such that they freely interacted with touts of commuter omnibuses plying Mazoe, Shamva and Bindura routes.
The touts could be heard taunting the Comorians that they were in for a hiding by Zimbabwe.
That the Warriors trained for just three days ahead of this match might not be too much of worry for Zimbabwe coach Kalisto Pasuwa whose side faces the Indian Ocean Islanders who arrived in the country on Wednesday evening.
Their visitors’ focus might have been diluted by what they were exposed to since they arrived.
Comoros coach Mohamed Abderamane Chamite has conceded that Zimbabwe are much-fancied than them and gives his side little chances of winning.
“The team is ready although I know Zimbabwe are much experienced and have a solid team. It is going to be very hard to beat Zimbabwe, especially since we are away. We are however not on holiday and we can win with a bit of luck,” said Chamite.
“If we lose it will not be much of a problem. We are here more importantly to learn. We do not have the chance of playing many international games like Zimbabwe because we have four islands and every time we have to play a match we have to fly between our islands so it is costly.
He added, “No, I do not know any Zimbabwean player. I watched Zimbabwe on video play Afcon qualifiers against Mali and Morocco some years back and obviously things have changed by now.”
Chamite is in his second stint as Comoros coach and is not new to Zimbabwe after leading his side in Bulawayo in the 2009 Cosafa Cup where they faced Seychelles, Botswana and Swaziland.
At 32-years-old, their captain Mikitade Daaoud is the most experienced in the team.
But Zimbabwe skipper Danny Phiri is refusing to underestimate the islanders who are ranked 190 in the world against Zimbabwe’s 119 world placing.
Having led the Warriors at last month’s Cosafa Cup, it is Phiri’s first time to captain Zimbabwe on home soil.
“I know nothing about them [Comoros] but that does not mean we should take them lightly,” said Phiri.
“This game is very important to us and we need to win at all cost. We have to start well and finish the job when we visit the Comoros. We are used to playing under pressure.
“We should train for longer periods for such tournaments but we are slowly getting used to each other as players. We can win if we put maximum effort. It does not matter much that we had little time in camp. It is all about teamwork. We can win if we play well and listen to the coach.
“It is a huge responsibility to captain Zimbabwe, especially since we are playing at home. To me, it is a big task.”
Zimbabwe’s first step to qualify for the last edition of Chan was against islanders Mauritius, who ironically beat the Comoros to set up a first round date with the Warriors in July 2013.
Rwanda will host the 2016 Chan, a tournament Zimbabwe have qualified for in all the past three editions of the tournament.