Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
With just over 72 hours before his charges plunge into the Teranga Lions’ den, Warriors coach Norman Mapeza believes they need to be in their right frame of mind.
He said they will still be playing football when they meet Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations Group B opener and it was critical for the players to appreciate that and not worry about the big names in their opponents’ camp, who may suffer a terrible blow of complacency and find themselves licking their wounds after the end of the match.
Mapeza, who described the mood in camp as impressive, said it showed the boys were ready to play football and emphasised that Monday’s encounter was all about how they will pick themselves up psychologically.
“So far everything is okay, I’m more than happy with the attitude from the guys, one can tell they want to play football. As you are aware that we are playing against Senegal and with all those names in their squad, it’s important to keep emphasising that this is only a game of football.
They may have those big guys, but it’s all about how we are going to pick ourselves psychologically. It’s all about mental strength,” Mapeza told Chronicle Sport just before the Warriors left Yaounde for their tournament base Baffousam.
He said they had no injury worries and heaped praise on team doctor Nick Munyonga and his medical team.
“We have no major injury worries, those who picked up knocks are up and about. Our medical teams have been doing a great job and we want to make sure everyone will be available for Monday’s opener,” said Mapeza.
The two sides will be meeting for the 10th time, with the Teranga Lions winning the previous five encounters while the Warriors have four victories, the first coming in 1985 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. The other two wins for Zimbabwe came in 1993 in international friendlies.
The last victory over Senegal was in another Afcon qualifier in 1999 when the Warriors registered a 2-1 win.
After the opener against Senegal, the Warriors square off against Malawi on January 14 before returning to Yaounde for a date against Guinea to wrap up their Group B campaign.
Article Source: The Chronicle