Zimbabwe coach, captain split over World Cup chances

BY: Peter Sarbah
Coach Norman Mapeza
Coach Norman Mapeza

Zimbabwe’s Coach Norman Mapeza and his captain Knowledge Musona are split over the team's chances of qualifying for the 2024 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

While the coach believes their chances of making it out of Group G in the qualifiers have all but ended after picking a single point from three matches, Musona remains defiant in his conviction that all was not over for the Warriors and that they could still pull a surprise and remain in contention if they won their next two matches against Ghana and South Africa.

Speaking to the media after his side's 1-3 loss to the Black Stars at the Cape Coast Stadium last Saturday, Musonda sounded optimistic that if his team worked harder they could add six points to their solitary point and equal the seven points of group leaders South Africa.

''We are going to fight until the end. We are playing for our national team and it's our pride. Whatever points that we end up with, we'll make sure that we give our opponents hard time to play and win games. It's not over yet. If we win the next two games, we will also be on seven points, so it's still on until the end," said the confident Warriors captain who scored his side’s only goal via a spot kick last Saturday.

He described their defeat as unfortunate, saying Ghana were the better team on the day and deserved to win but was happy about the performance they put up against the Ghanaians.

However, in response, Coach Musona urged his captainto be realistic in life and know when to give up and when to continue fighting.

''We need to be realistic here. If you look at our chances, they are very slim, so sometimes you need to be realistic in life. But like my captain said, we'll keep on working hard. This is not the end of us as Zimbabwe’s national team because maybe we failed to qualify for the World Cup.

''We're still going to Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in January so our main focus is to make sure we get the maximum points in the remaining World Cup games so we prepare for the AFCON in January," the coach said.