Thursday, August 30, 2012

Warriors And Angola Match For Rufaro

ZIFA have acceded to the Warriors technical team's request to play Angola at Rufaro Stadium, Harare, in a crucial Afcon first leg of the final qualifier on 9 September. Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo said the move would certainly boost the team's morale. He said Rufaro Stadium was easily accessible and the turnout of the 12th player, the supporters, was likely to be big.

"The 12th player who is the supporter favours Rufaro Stadium. Its terraces are close to the pitch and that effect has a huge impact.

"The National Sports Stadium terraces are too far from the field and the atmosphere does not get anywhere close to Rufaro," said Gumbo who speaks from experience having played at all the country's three biggest stadia.

He knows exactly the effect of fans being just by the touchline and urging the players on.

"We are happy Zifa have agreed to have the match at our preferred venue which is Rufaro. I am hopeful we will be able to get in camp all the players we identified," said Gumbo.

He said he was confident that his ace striker Knowledge Musona would be available for the match.

Last month the youngster through a Harare lawyer said he would not play for the Warriors again.

This was after he was seen in the capital with Henrietta Rushwaya during lunch with another Warriors player Ovidy Karuru.

Rushwaya and Karuru have been fingered in Asiagate and Zifa were not comfortable with the players who were in camp being seen with the former chief executive officer.

The Afcon qualifier is for next year's finals to be held in South Africa, the first ever since Caf resolved to have them on odd years so that they do not clash with the Olympics and World Cup finals. This was after big clubs complained that they could not afford the luxury of releasing their players for the Afcon finals in January and February and then again in June for the World Cup finals.

The congested programmes resulted in fatigue as players could literally go two to three seasons without an off-season break.

Jonathan Mashingaidze said the Zifa board had agreed to have the match moved to Rufaro following a request by the players and coaches. He said what Zifa wanted was for the Warriors to qualify for the finals hence it was doing all within its powers to create the best conditions for the team.

"The coaches said they wanted to play at Rufaro Stadium and we agreed to their request. We will do everything in our power to ensure they have adequate training time at the match venue," said Mashingaidze.

He said the coaches argument was that Rufaro was compact and the fans will be just a few metres from the action.

"It can be intimidating when the stadium is full and this is what they want to take advantage of.

"We are committed to winning this game, it would be nice for Zimbabweans to go to the finals as participants and supporters watching their team in action. We are praying that the boys win both ties so that we make it," said Mashingaidze.

He said the team to face Angola had been announced early to allow all efforts to be made to enable players to arrive on time.
By Sbue
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