By Phumzile Ngcatshe
Zimbabwe will welcome Liberia on Sunday in their opening Group G clash of their 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and will want to claim a win in front of their home fans. The Warriors are fresh from parting ways with their coach, Kalisto Pasuwa, who helped guide them to the continental showpiece in Gabon earlier this year.
However, their dismal failure pushed the football association, ZIFA, to part ways and handed the reins to former player Norman Mapeza. Mapeza guided the national side to their first friendly after AFCON, against Zambia as they drew 0-0 in Harare in March. As they hope to reach Cameroon in 2019, the Southern African side will want to improve their run and ensure they start well against Liberia.
The Zimbabweans will be without Mamelodi Sundowns striker, Khama Billiat, who has been ruled out of the tie with an ankle injury. On the other hand, the Liberians will invade Harare with one thing at the back of their minds, to claim a win and boost their chances of making it to Cameroon. Liberia have only two appearances at the tournament, in 1996 and 2001, but could only manage a first round exit on both occasions.
Coach James Debbah is set to find it tough in Harare without his influential skipper Anthony Laffor, who is out carrying an injury at his South African club Sundowns. Furthermore, the coach will now be motivated to cause an upset in Zimbabwe as they managed to beat Sierra Leone 1-0 in an international friendly on June 05. The match will be staged at National Sports Stadium in Harare at 15:00 (CAT) on Sunday afternoon.
Main Pic: ‘Hitman’ Knowledge Masona/ The Herald