Chimedza tips Warriors
11 January 2016
FORMER Warriors star Cephas Chimedza has reflected on the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, comparing his generation with the class of 2017.
His chronicles give the impression that the association “learned nothing and forgot nothing” – in regards to the build-up of a major final.
The Warriors are set for the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon after a grueling battle with Zifa over allowances, appearances and bonuses.
“We had our fair share of monetary problems just before we left Zimbabwe for our training in France. We staged a sit in at the airport just a few hours before take-off but luckily everything was resolved.
“Zifa managed to get some funds. I remember loads of cash (Zimbabwean dollars then) arriving at the airport. We almost missed our connecting flight in Johannesburg to go to Egypt,” Chimedza told H-Metro.
After that stand-off with the association before the 2006 finals, The Warriors lost by the same scoreline, 2-0, against Senegal and Nigeria in the first two games.
They got into the groove in the last match, beating Ghana 2-1 but that could not help the country progress to the quarter-final stage.
Chimedza argues that though the impasse had somehow distracted them at that time, they were quick to refocus and their first friendly match helped them gear for the group games.
“After that we played a friendly game in Egypt then flew to our training base in France. The morale was high. Unfortunately we lost Dumi Mpofu through injury in our final preparatory match against Morocco. That was the only downside,” he said.
Just like 11 years ago, history repeated itself in similar fashion and yesterday the Warriors were trying to get back on track after off the pitch battles with Zifa.
The captain Willard Katsande has said they will try to put that history behind them and concentrate on the job at hand.
“Back then, we had players who had played before in the AFCON so we were not so much intimidated even though we were underdogs. We did our best and came just short,” he said.
When the Warriors face Desert Foxes of Algeria on January 15 at Stade de Franceville, much will be expected from this ‘golden generation’.
The coach Kalisto Pasuwa, when compared to the 2006 coach Charles Mhlauri, has achieved more in the domestic league and equaled the achievements of the former CAPS United coach and Sunday Chidzambwa at national team level.
If they can get a result against Algeria, they could face Senegal with their tails up on January 19 at the same stadium.
The Warriors play Tunisia on January 23 at Stade de l’Amitié for the last group B match.
“The current players have what it takes to go further. Hopefully they have put the events of the past days behind them and are ready and raring to go because just like a lot of Zimbabweans, I believe in them and wish them all the best. Their success will come from teamwork,” said Chimedza.