Munetsi confident of WC qualification

Munetsi, who plays for Stade Reims in France, believes the Warriors have players who are good enough to upstage their rivals in the pool.

WARRIORS midfielder Marshall Munetsi believes the senior national football team have what it takes to clinch a ticket to the 2026 Fifa World Cup despite drawing African powerhouses Nigeria as well as neighbours South Africa in Group C of the qualifiers.

The other group members include Benin, Rwanda and Lesotho and the team which finishes at the top will automatically qualify to the global showcase to be hosted by Mexico, Canada and the United States.

Four best runners up from all the nine pools will play another playoff to determine who proceeds to another qualifying tournament against nations from other continents.

Having qualified to the World Cup on six occasions, Nigeria are favourites in Group C, while South Africa, who have played at two tournaments are tipped to give the Super Eagles their biggest challenge.

But Munetsi, who plays for Stade Reims in France, believes the Warriors have players who are good enough to upstage their rivals in the pool.

Zimbabwe were included in the draw conducted last week after Fifa lifted a ban on Zifa which had been imposed over government’s meddling in the association’s affairs.

The former Orlando Pirates star, who is expected to play a key role for the Warriors together with Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba, Tino Kadwere and Jordan Zemura among others, also shared his delight at the lifting of the suspension.

“The lifting of the ban is great for the nation, its great for the players; it is something that has been going through our minds that we are unable to represent our country over things that could be sorted out just through discussion.  I am grateful to Fifa, SRC (Sports and Recreation Commission), the minister (Kirsty Coventry) and Fifa. It is something that gives us joy as players that now we can be able to fulfil our dreams; it’s every young player’s dream to play at the World Cup.

“Hopefully now we can have the good opportunity to fight for our place. The group that we have been placed in is a decent group. I know that we can do well with the players that have been performing even outside our country at club level. So I just pray that we now put our heads together towards achieving this dream of going on to represent our country at the World Cup. Now that we have the normalisation committee that is there, we just hope they can do a good job in fulfilling all the requirements of our game even for our league to put us back on the international stage,” the outspoken star said.

Zimbabwe last played at a major tournament in 2021 when they participated at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.

They will miss next year’s Afcon finals having been kicked out of the qualifiers due to the Fifa ban, but they are back in action this November when the World Cup qualifiers kick off.

Zimbabwe were in the same group as South Africa for the last World Cup qualifiers with the Warriors losing both their meetings with Bafana Bafana.

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