Warriors look to up their game against Bafana

Zimbabwe captain Marshall Munetsi. | BackpagePix

Zimbabwe captain Marshall Munetsi. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 10, 2024



Zimbabwean national team captain Marshall Munetsi is confident they’ll give a good account of themselves when they face Bafana Bafana tomorrow night.

The Warriors lost 2-0 to Lesotho in their third group stage World Cup qualifier on Friday afternoon at Orlando Stadium, resulting in them dropping to the foot of the table with two points. The going is set to get tougher for them as they’ll face neighbours Bafana in the fourth round at Free State Stadium tomorrow (6pm kick-off).

Not only are Bafana playing at home, but they are on the back of a hard earned 1-1 draw with Nigeria at Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Friday night.

That result and performance showed how Bafana have improved over the years and gelled together as a unit under coach Hugo Broos, having previously been the Super Eagles’ weeping boys.

However, not the same can be said for the Warriors. The team has been reshuffled since returning to international football via the World Cup qualifiers after their Fifa ban was uplifted.

As such, the Zimbabwean FA has tasked Jairos Tapera to lead the new-look team on an interim basis, but Munetsi has no doubt that they’ll improve going forward, including tomorrow.

“I think we are a young team,” Munetsi said. “If you look on paper, most of the guys are playing international football for the first time.

“I think once we start gelling everything is going to be possible. If you look at the game today (on Friday) we started slowly, but as the game went on, we created chances.

“I think that can be a positive thing for us, all that we need to do now is to put the ball in the back of the net.”

The Warriors were unlucky not to find the back of the net against Lesotho as referee Alhadi Mahamat denied them numerous penalties.

Munetsi admitted they were hard done by decisions that didn’t go their way, calling for the implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system in continental football.

“I think that’s why we need VAR especially in African football because it’s even difficult to talk to the referee,” Munetsi said.

“If you try to ask him why he doesn’t give it, he doesn’t explain it to you, instead he gives you a yellow card. For us it’s difficult because we always cry about these situations, and it’s unfortunate that the decisions were not on our side.”

Things haven’t been on the Warriors side, so much so that they are part of the 24 associations from the 54-member associations of Caf that do not have approved stadiums. As a result of that deficit, the Warriors have had to play their home games away from home, hence they hosted Lesotho in Orlando.

Munetsi says that has taken a toll on their preparations and support, even though they can’t read too much into that as they have to grind out the results regardless.

“It’s a big impact because you need your support,” Munetsi admitted.

“Obviously, we had it, but we are also familiar with our environment but playing at home is also something that is special. So. I think we also need to know that it’s difficult, we are playing a lot of games away, but that’s not an excuse. We are professional players, and we need to do our best.”

Related Topics: