A defeat or a draw for the Zimbabweans will mean elimination from the race for a place at the 2012 African Cup of Nations finals and coach Norman Mapeza has spent the whole of this week emphasizing to his players the need to win this game at all costs.
At the moment, the Warriors are third in the group with five points while leaders Cape Verde have seven. Second placed Mali is on six while the trailing Liberia has four points. Only one team from the group makes the trip to Gabon and the Equatorial Guinea in January next year.
The Warriors need a win to shoot to eight points and a probable second placing depending on the result of the other match between leaders
Cape Verde and Mali in Bamako which the hosts are favoured to win.
Despite the high gate charges, most of the Zimbabwean football followers were saying they will be at the National Sports Stadium to rally behind the Warriors in their quest for a place at the Nations Cup finals having missed out in 2008 and 2010.
Unfortunately, Zimbabwe’s top goal scorer, Knowledge Musona will not be available after his club TSG Hoffeinheim of Germany withdrew his services saying he was injured but still Mapeza revealed that he still has enough arsenal to see the Warriors through.
In Musona’s absence, Mapeza has brought in Dynamos forward Cuthbert Malajila who is likely to partner Sudan based Edward Sadomba upfront in search of the much needed goals with Ajax Cape Town midfielder Khama Billiart playing just behind the strikers.
In fact, many believe that in the absence of Musona, Zimbabwe’s hopes rest with Billiart, a midfielder who also scores great goals. Billiart, along with his Ajax Cape Town team mate Willard Katsande scored the two goals that sank Zambia in the August 10 friendly match.
The Warriors have been impressive in their play since Mapeza took over from Madinda Ndlovu. They beat Mali 2-1 before accounting for Zambia 2-0, and on current form look favourites to win the match against Liberia who could only manage a goalless draw in their last game against Angola in an international friendly on the Fifa date.
The Warriors, should be warned not to underestimate the West Africans. Liberia are also still with a chance of qualification. A win for the Lone Star will push them to seven points, and have a home game against Mali to talk of in their last match of the run up to the finals.
But statistics and current form points to a Warriors victory.
Probable Warriors line up.
Tapuwa Kapini, Vusa Nyoni, Gilbert Mapemba, Daniel Vheremu, Method
Mwanjali, Tinashe Nengomasha, Willard Katsande, Khama Billiart, Ovidy
Karuru, Edward Sadomba, Cuthbert Malajila