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Date: 21 July 2017

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Warriors have much to gain and lose at CECAFA

[Posted 23 Nov 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Warriors have much to gain and lose at CECAFA

At position 70 in the world and 16 in AfricaZimbabwe will go into the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup as the top ranked nation, both in the world and in Africa. For that reason alone, a lot is at stake at the tournament for the Warriors than for any other team they will meet.

Only Malawi who are ranked 87 in the world and 21 in Africa, plus Uganda 91 (22) are the only other African teams in the top 100 in the world who are set to participate at the Cecafa tourney beginning on Friday. 

At Cecafa, the Warriors will meet Rwanda 114 (28), Tanzania 136 (37) and Djibouti 200 (52) in Group A of the competition.

Zimbabwe are scheduled to play Djibouti, with the second lowest ranking in Africa and the 9th lowest in the world, in their opening match in the group on Sunday. This match will be followed by a clash against Rwanda who eliminated the Warriors at quarterfinal stage in 2009.

The last group match for the Warriors will be against defending champions and hosts Tanzania.

While Cecafa is a welcome platform for developing talent and broadening Mapeza's selection base, it is the manner in which the Warriors were invited to this tournament and their apparent unpreparedness which worries any analytical fan of the Warriors.

The team was invited as a last minute replacement firstly for Malawi, then some other team in Group A. The Zimbabwe soccer season has not really finished, with Dynamos and Motor Action who provide the bulk of the locally-based Warriors due to take part in the final of the richest competition in the land on Sunday.

The Warriors were forced to send a team without quality players such as Cuthbert Malajila, Guthrie Zhokinyu, Washington Arubi, Denver Mukamba, Archieford Gutu, Allan Gahadzikwa, Marlon Jani, the promising Conrad Witby and others. 

Given the inability of Zifa to organise many friendly matches, the Cecafa tournament coould have been the best opportunity to maintain a good Fifa World ranking and to fine tune locally based players for the upcoming qualifiers in the 2013 AFCON and 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

It is hoped that the team of talented individuals who have unfortunately not played together before will hold its own in Central and East Africa between November 26  and mid December.

Come the next world ranking release, Zimbabweans will be hoping that their Warriors will continue to scale new heights.

Best wishes to Norman Mapeza and his troops in their quest to conquer Central and East Africa.

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