Afcon Draw: Nyatanga Sees The Silver Lining

By Don Makanyanga

Harare, October 22, 2016 – ZIMBABWE National Soccer Supporters Association (ZNSSA) president, Eddie Mboma Nyatanga has challenged the Warriors to start thinking of how they could best become one of Africa’s big boys in the popular sport, as opposed to spending time fretting over being drawn against the continent’s power houses.

The country’s senior soccer side was drawn against continental giants Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal in Group B of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament set for Gabon in January.

Of all the teams in the so-called group of death, Zimbabwe is the only country that has never been to the World Cup soccer tournament, something that tells a story about the class of opponents they are facing.

While the prospects of meeting the tough opponents has dampened the spirits of some football followers who were hoping the country cold perform better than the last two Afcon appearances in which they failed to progress to the group stages, Nyatanga felt this was a good opportunity for the Warriors to write their own piece of history as a Warriors generation that demystified the so-called big guns.

“I think it was a fair draw for Zimbabwe and the challenge is for the current national team to write their own piece of history and progress to the quarter finals,” he told RadioVOP in an interview.

Nyatanga felt the feat could have been tougher had the Warriors been drawn against West African teams, which he said play a more physical game compared to the North Africans.

“If you are to look at the type of play by the North Africans, it’s kind of similar to our play and that of South Africa and it is a good thing for us as we can match them in style,” he said.

“It would have been difficult, had we been grouped with the West Africans who play more of a physical game as compared to the North Africans,” said the Warriors’ number one supporter.

Nyatanga, a former football administrator, said the new Zifa board led by Philip Chiyangwa should start mapping the road to Gabon as a matter of urgency and correct the mistakes of the previous board.

He cited the issue of allowances as a top priority for the team that will represent Zimbabwe at the forthcoming continental tournament.

“We are already behind in our preparations and now that the draw has come and passed, its time Chiyangwa and his board start mapping the way forward in-terms of preparations.

“Also Chiyangwa should be in a position to put a fundraising committee that will spearhead mobilisation of resources for the Warriors and not to wait for the last minute to move around with the begging bowl,” said Nyatanga.

Group A comprises hosts Gabon, former champions Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso.

 

Group C will see defending champions Ivory Coast play Togo, Morocco and DR Congo while Group D is made up of Ghana, Uganda, Egypt and Mali.

 

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe international Khama Billiat is this Saturday expected to write his own piece of history by becoming the first Zimbabwean to clinch the prestigious CAF Champions League trophy on a Mamelodi Sundowns jersey.

 

Billiat and his teammates in South Africa’s top football club carry a healthy 3-0 lead to Egypt’s Zamalek for the much anticipated second leg Champons League Final clash in the continent’s biggest inter-club competition.

 

On the local front, Zimbabwean football shifts focus to the Chibuku Super Cup quarter final which will see Ngezi Platinum take on premiership giants, Highlanders at Barbourfields stadium while another platinum mining side, FC Platinum face defending champions Harare City at Mandava Stadium.