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Date: 24 July 2017

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Gumbo's preferred Warriors starting 11, formation

[Posted 28 Feb 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Man on a mission. Will Gumbo return from Bujumbura celebrating? Highly possible!

Having been deprived of almost 100 players from whom Zimbabwe has been able to draw about 11 regulars in the recent past, interim coach Rahman Gumbo is surpringly in a difficult position and has to dig deep to come up with the first eleven against Burundi in an AFCON 2013 qualifier, given the competition in the camp.

On Wednesday afternoon, which are the first eleven players who are likely to take to the field, and what formation is Gumbo likely to employ away from home?

Playing Formation

Judging from the manner he handled Zimbabwe around 2004 before he was dismissed following a 0-3 home mauling by Nigeria, Gumbo appears to prefer a 4-4-2 formation against weaker opponents.

There is evidence in that during the 2006 qualifiers, Gumbo travelled to Rwanda, and returned with a good 2-0 win away from home. He employed a 4-4-2 formation, preferring two strong men in midfield, Tinashe Nengomasha and Esrom Nyandoro, who are available for selection tomorrow.

There is little doubt Gumbo will play a 4-4-2 formation. Who is then likely to feature in Mr. Rush's preferred formation in tomorrow's encounter against Burundi away from home?

Suitable players for a 4-4-2 formation

Tapuwa Kapini has been appointed interim captain of the Warriors against Burundi and without doubt he is the preferred number 1 for Gumbo and his technical team. There is a gulf between Kapini and Marlon Jani and speculating on who could be preferred, in all fairness, could be a worst of time. Kapini has a better reading of the game, cuts out crosses well, and more importantly he is a better leader and communicator than Jani.

On the left back, there is little doubt that returning Onismor Bhasera will be employed there. Bhasera can defend well and is useful when building attack from the back too. On the right back, Gumbo is expected to go for experience and opt for Noel Kaseke ahead of Tapiwa Khumbuyani.

There is little choice available to Gumbo for the central defensive positions. Leaving out in-form Carlington Nyadombo in South Africa was a sure sign that he had made up his mind that Arnold Chaka and Godfrey Moyo were his trusted kingpins in the heart of defence.

Playing right infront of the defence will be the strong central midfield pairing of two link-men, Nyandoro and Nengomasha. That combination will be preferred to provide cover for the inexperienced pair of Moyo and Chaka, who are new to games of this magnitude.

With the presence of Archieford Gutu who prefers to attack from a deep midfield position as opposed to playing on the wings, it is possible that Gutu will be employed to play infront of the defensive midfield duo and fulfill the playmaking role in the team. This means that Kaseke will be instructed to venture forward more often than not.

Alternatively, Zimbabwe will play with a congested midfield and dominate ball possession. This will allow striker Knowledge Musona to attack more from the right, and Gutu will substract numbers going forward and release Musona on the right when he carves open the defence.

Vusa Nyoni without doubt, will be preferred for the left channel of midfield ahead of young Denver Mukamba, who is very thin on experience at this stage.

Besides, there is no doubting the class of Nyoni on the left flank. He was probably Zimbabwe's most consistent player during the failed 2012 AFCON campaign, even though he operated from the left back position. Nyoni is an attacking midfielder at Germinal Beerschot and scores goals from that position.

Musona's strike partner is in all likelihood going to be Russia-based Musa Mguni. The tall striker is an easy target man in the box, and his aerial presence will be an advantage for Zimbabwe against the tall Burundi central defender Valery Nahayo. The Belgium-based defender has aerial strength and easily Burundi's best player.

Terrence Mandaza is another option upfront to partner Musona, but given his limited game time at Platinum Stars in South Africa, Mguni will be a better option for a starting berth.

A match-fit Mandaza will be a very attractive option given his eye for goal, dribbling skills and just like Mguni, his physical presence in the box. He is never an easy customer for any defender when he is on song.

If this Warriors team had had enough preparation time, then Beezsports would have easily predicted a big margin victory. Having been robbed of preparation time given the travelling arrangements for this midweek international fixture, the Warriors, who are a new-look team, are likely to take time to settle down.

If the Warriors are to emerge victorious, it is likely to be a slender victory, of a 2-1 or 1-0 scoreline. A draw remains a possibility. A defeat will be disastrous to the Warriors' rankings given the Swallows' low world ranking of 143.

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