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Warriors ready for redemption

Zimbabwe need to bounce back and record their first win for this campaign as they only have two points from draws against Rwanda and Nigeria going into this evening’s tie.

WARRIORS coach Jairos Tapera says his team will be a different animal when they take on hosts Bafana Bafana in a Group C Fifa World Cup qualifier here this evening.

The Warriors were a pale shadow of themselves when they lost to Lesotho on Friday at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, but Tapera believes his team is well pumped up for today’s showdown.

He expects a good fight from his charges and thinks form will not count for anything in this contest.

Zimbabwe need to bounce back and record their first win for this campaign as they only have two points from draws against Rwanda and Nigeria going into this evening’s tie.

“I think we are ready, it’s unfortunate that we lost the last game against Lesotho. But we are ready for this one, it’s a new game. We obviously respect Bafana Bafana because they are at home, but we are the Warriors. We will put up a big fight,” he told the media.

Tapera expects the two teams to go straight at each other’s necks in search of the killer blow from the onset.

“I think it’s going to be an open game that should be entertaining for the fans,” the Warriors gaffer said.

“I don’t think what happened in the last match matters because when we play Bafana, it’s like a derby. It’s about the bragging rights between the two countries and whoever wants it more on the day is likely to win.”

Lesotho have been the surprise package of the group after forcing a draw against Nigeria and defeating Zimbabwe away from home to climb to the top of the table.

Tapera believes that smaller nations have improved their approach to the game and thus games have become so unpredictable.

“I think small countries are improving even in terms of their organisation. So you can’t get into a match and say ‘we are Zimbabwe, we are going to win’,” he said.

“Smaller nations are doing very well to improve themselves and win games. Like our game against Lesotho, no one imagined it.

“So it just shows that in the group, anyone can win against any team and go on top of the group. So it’s about just respecting all the teams in the group.”

Tapera admits that South Africa have established a strong team over the years and his team was affected by the two-year international ban.

“South Africa have been building over the last four or five years, but we have been affected by the ban. We have got good players but the ban affected us.”

Zimbabwe have injury concerns at the back, where Teenage Hadebe and Devine Lunga are both limping with ankle issues.

“We have some injury concerns. Teenage has got some ankle issues just like Devine Lunga, he has got an injury on the left ankle. But we will see who is ready to play and who is not. (Andrew) Mbeba is suspended and it’s a big blow. But we have 23 players, we will see how we can move players around to fill in that gap,” Tapera said.

Captain Marshall Munetsi also pledged an improved show from the team.

“I think as players, when you lose such a game, you want to bounce back as soon as possible. Everyone is focused because we know how much it means for people back at home and those that are here in South Africa,” Munetsi said.

“We are eager to go out and do well in this one. I think South Africa have progressed well and I think it all comes down to the league and Sundowns are doing well. It doesn’t come as a surprise because when the administration and organisation is on point, it feeds into the players. So this is a game that speaks to us, that we have to up our game in all departments.”

The Warriors sit at the bottom of their group, two points less than Bafana Bafana.


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