Home » Sports » Deco Rallies His Troops

THE Warriors leave for Tanzania today with gritty midfielder Danny “Deco” Phiri saying they need mental strength to come back home with a positive result in this Nations Cup preliminary round showdown.Zimbabwe will clash with the Taifa Stars at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday hoping to get a favourable result before the teams meet again in the second leg in Harare.

The Warriors delegation is expected to leave today around lunch time aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight and will make a brief stop-over in Addis Ababa before connecting to Tanzania around 8pm.

The travelling party is expected in Dar-es-Salaam in the early hours tomorrow, around 1am.

Zifa Eastern Region Division One chairman Piraishe Mabhena is the head of delegation.

A reception for the team was held in Harare last night.

Phiri, the Zimbabwe international midfielder, was the unsung hero of the local band of Warriors who took part at the CHAN tournament early this year and yesterday said the Taifa Stars needed to be taken seriously despite their poor ranking on the Fifa table.

The East Africans are placed 122nd in the world and 37th in Africa while Zimbabwe are number 98 on the globe and 26 on the continent.

“Tanzania are not a small team and the fact that they are playing at home makes them tough opponents,” said Deco.

“They attack from the wings very well but their weakness is that they tire out quickly. So we will need to press them and, hopefully, we get them on the counter-attack.

“Right now things are still shaping up, but it’s always tough to start from the preliminaries. We have to play more games, but I think our team is okay.

“It has a g base because most of the players played together at the CHAN tournament recently. We did well at the CHAN tournament and if we continue in that vein we can get far. Now that we have few days of training, we need to develop a quick understanding of each other and unity of purpose.

“It’s going to be a long road. Zambia are recent African champions and we know what to expect from them. And the other teams, you can’t really underrate them. So it means we will need to work even harder.”

The Warriors’ preparations were plagued by injuries this week and coach Ian Gorowa had to call in How Mine striker Kuda Musharu and Wonder Kapinda of Black Rhinos to beef up his side.

The technical team had 19 players as they took their preparations a gear up with a practice match against Premiership champions Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium.

Team manager Shariff Musa said the coaches will have to drop one goalkeeper.

“We only have 19 players in the squad now, including three goalkeepers. So this will mean that the coaches will only have to drop one of the goalkeepers to remain with 18.

“Otherwise everyone is focused and I am sure the technical team were happy to get this opportunity for the practice match. They were looking at the players and the combinations. For a team that has only been training for a few days, I think there is still room for improvement,” said Musa.

The Warriors will be assured of some support in Tanzania as a group of fans from the Friends of the Warriors left by road yesterday on the 2 700km journey.

Gorowa said Dar es Salaam was more convenient and would suit his team.

“Caf have decided not to approve the venue and now that we are playing at their National Stadium, which is more or less like ours, I think it’s better for us.

“The altitude in Mbeya is very high so I think it’s also a blessing in disguise for us that Caf did not approve the venue. Also it’s close to 1 000km from Dar es Salaam. So when we get to Dar es Salaam we were supposed to fly again of which the travelling was going to affect us,” said Gorowa.

Tanzania recently appointed Dutchman Mark Nooij as head coach as they seek a rare appearance at the continental football showcase in Morocco next January.

Since making their maiden appearance in the African Nations Cup championship staged in Lagos in 1980, Taifa Stars have not been able to qualify for the finals of the tournament.

Tanzania were held to a goalless draw by Malawi in a friendly match two weeks ago as part of their preparations.

The Taifa Stars had hoped to be at their full strength after calling up three of their foreign-based players but only versatile midfielder Mwinji Kazimoto, who plays for Al Markhiya in Qatar, has made himself available.

Warriors Squad

Goalkeepers: G. Chigova, M. Diya, W. Arubi

Defenders: H. Zvirekwi, E. Chipeta, P. Jaure, M. Ncube, R. Pfumbidzai

Midfielders: W. Kapinda, D. Phiri, P. Manhanga, S. Alimenda, K. Mahachi, T. Chawapiwa, P. Moyo, M. Mudehwe

Strikers: T. Ndoro, K. Musharu, C. Malajila

Source : The Herald