The Sunday News
Fungai Muderere, Senior Sports Reporter
UNITED States of America-based Charles Mhlauri, the man who took the Warriors to their second dance in the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2006, says while he would guard against giving senior national gaffer Sunday Chidzambwa advice through the media ahead of the crucial Afcon tie against Congo Brazzaville on 24 March, he is confident that this success-starved nation will make it for this year’s African soccer extravaganza.
Chidzambwa’s men, who plunge into battle on Sunday, lead Group G with eight points ahead of their last game at the National Sports Stadium. Their rivals, DR Congo and Liberia contest in their own do or die tie as they have seven and six points respectively.
“Playing at home is a better way to finish your campaign because it gives you a perfect opportunity to wrap things on a good note. I have worked with Sunday Chidzambwa, Rahman Gumbo and Brenna Msika before and I’m confident that their boys are going to do it. It’s unfortunate I can’t give advice to Chidzambwa through the media. I have his numbers and probably I will call him with regards to the match. He is the best man and his players should be able to deliver. They have a good chance to qualify,” said Mhlauri, a former coach at the now defunct Phinda Mzala, AmaZulu and Caps United.
He was part of the crowd that watched the FC Platinum’s Total Caf Champions League Group B match against African giants Esperance at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
He followed the proceedings of the match in the company of former AmaZulu trio of Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda, Golding Dube and Nkosana Gumbo. Chidzambwa was the first coach to take the Warriors to their first Africa Cup of Nations competition in 2004 before Mhlauri achieved the same fate two years later.
Kallisto Pasuwa led the country’s flagship team to the same contest in Gabon in 2017 and calls have been made that Chidzambwa’s class of 2019 should compensate for the heartbreaking so near yet so far experiences that the nation was made to endure before and after the turn of the new millennium.
In 1991 Moses Chunga, captain of the Warriors then, watched in disbelief when their African Cup of Nations dream was shattered by Congo-Brazzaville. On the calamity, Chunga, fondly known as The Razor Man, recently urged Knowledge Musona and company to right the wrong of 1991. Zimbabwe needed a win against Congo at the National Sports Stadium to qualify for the 1992 Afcon finals in Senegal and led 2-1 until the 92nd minute when they conceded a last gasp goal, courtesy of a John Sibanda howler that has become “infamous” over the passage of time.