Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Sun City, South Africa
LEGENDARY coach Sunday Mhofu Chidzambwa has declared his boys ready for today’s Cosafa Castle Cup quarter-final duel against Swaziland set for the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in South Africa but decried the format of having other teams joining at a later stage of the competition.
Today’s encounter comes after the Warriors played three games inside five days in which they managed to score an incredible 10 goals while Sihlangu Semnikati are playing their first game of this year’s tournament.
Mhofu believes there is need to have all teams play the same number of games just like in other tournaments like the World Cup.
“I think the rules or the format is unfair to those eight teams who played in the group stages. I mean it won’t be fair to a team that has played three games in five days to face a fresh team which hasn’t played any game. It’s not fair for football but there is nothing we can do, those are the rules. We just have to play and fight to go through. Like what they do in other tournaments like the World Cup, all the 32 teams come over and start on the same date, play in group games and those who go through do so and that is a fair format of any competition. I think maybe if they (Cosafa) are to go back to the old format where teams were playing each other home and away, eliminate each other, or the final two teams play home and away, but the way they are doing it now is not fair for other teams,” said Chidzambwa who led Zimbabwe to their fourth and last Cosafa Castle Cup triumph on home soil in 2009, beating Zambia 3-1.
Mhofu however, said with administrative issues aside, they were prepared and a positive attitude from the boys will see them prevail to meet either Namibia or Lesotho in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
“We told the boys that if we approach the game seriously and get our attitude right we will come out victorious but if we are complacent like the way we started against Madagascar we will be surprised. On our part as coaches we need to select our best team for this game, it’s a knockout and if we are to get to the next round we need to have the best squad but watching from the three games played so far, anyone can play. If you look at our team, if they really want to play and attitude is positive we can beat most of these Southern African teams,” said Chidzambwa.
Zimbabwe has met Swaziland 15 times before in which they recorded 10 wins, two draws and lost three times in all the encounters. Today’s encounter will be the seventh in the Cosafa tournament in which the Warriors have three wins and two draws with the only loss being the 0-2 loss at home where back in 2002, Sihlangu getting their goals through Siza and Sibusiso Dlamini.
After that shock defeat the Warriors turned on the power in the following year, winning 2-0 at Barbourfields Stadium through a Peter Ndlovu brace and a year later clobbered them 5-0 with goals coming from the late Edzayi Kasinauyo and Peter Ndlovu. Obidiah Tarumbwa and Ronald Pfumbidzai were on target last year in the Cosafa tournament when the two nations drew 2-2.
Warriors get into the field on the back of a 6-0 demolition of Seychelles on Friday evening through goals by in form skipper Ovidy Karuru who scored a hat trick, young Prince Dube and a brace by co-captain Ocean Mushure.