By Clive Chikeya
ZIMBABWE Warriors coach Norman Mapeza had revealed he will stick to the squad that lost 1 – 0 to Senegal in his next Afcon 2021 Group B match against Malawi on Friday.
The Warriors lost to Senegal in a last-gasp penalty which Mapeza says has left some of his players emotionally charged as they were just minutes from claiming a famous point. It would have been the first time in their history that the Warriors would have ended an Afcon tournament match without conceding a goal.
Speaking to CafOnline this Thursday, Mapeza insisted that tomorrow’s match was a must win for the Warriors.
“We have been working on recovery after the last-minute loss to Senegal. We have a very good side, and we know our game against Malawi is a mist win.
“I spoke to the players who were very emotional, and I am happy they have decided to forget the Senegal game. I am not going to make changes to my squad but will just emphasize on consistency and using our chances effectively,” said the gaffer, a former Warriors defender.
Warriors player Alec Mudimu also spoke to CafOnline saying the mood in the camp was good.
“Our loss to Senegal was disappointing, but we have since recovered and decided to move on to the next game against Malawi which is a must win,” Mudimu said.
“The mood is camp is good and we are rearing to go as we work hard towards getting the three points and making our entire nation proud.”
A win against the Flames of Malawi will be significant for the Warriors, as Zimbabwe last won an Afcon game in the 2006 tournament when they beat Ghana 2-1 in their third and final match. The Warriors appeared at the 2004, 2006, 2017 and now the 2021 edition of the tournament.
But they have failed to win in their last seven Africa Cup of Nations matches, gathering just a couple of points in the process.
Meanwhile, Malawi who are in their third Africa Cup of Nations appearance, are still to surpass the group stage just like the Warriors.
With just one win in seven games, the Flames are also looking for maximum points that will set the pace towards a historic place in the knockout stages.
Meck Mwase, the ssistant coach for Malawi, told CafOnline that while they respect Zimbabwe as it is a “very good side”, they are in a must win situation.
“We had a very good but unlucky performance against Guinea. We took note of our mistakes and playing Zimbabwe will be totally different. We have some players back after missing the first game.
“Zimbabwe are a very good side tactically, but I have told my players we are in a must win situation,” said Mwase.
His forward Gerald Phiri Junior also said the mood in the camp was good with almost no injury worries.
“The mood in the camp is buoyant and as players we have resolved to go all out and get a win against the strong Zimbabwe team.
“We had a lot of opportunities against Guinea that we never made use of. Now it will be a different game against Zimbabwe.”