Warriors hunt for Eagles

Zimbabwe were held to a goalless draw by Rwanda on Wednesday, while Nigeria had to come from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw at home against Lesotho.

WARRIORS vice-captain Marshall Munetsi believes the Warriors can stand toe to toe with Nigeria, saying that the team are evenly matched ahead of their Group C 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier here tomorrow.

The France midfielder reckons the match will be “decided by fine margins”.

The two teams are looking to get their qualifying campaign off the ground after they were both frustrated to draws in their opening matches.

Zimbabwe were held to a goalless draw by Rwanda on Wednesday, while Nigeria had to come from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw at home against Lesotho.

On paper, the West Africans looks favourites to win the match as they boast of superstars in their squad like Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Ihenacho, Taiwo Awoniyi and Ademola Lookman playing at the highest level of world football.

The Super Eagles posterboy Victor Osimhen of Napoli and AC Milan’s Chukwueze are, however, out of this match due to injuries.

Munetsi, one of the few high profile names in the Warriors squad, however, says they will give the former Africans champions respect, but feels Zimbabwe stand a chance in this contest, which he predicts will be very tight.

“It’s going to be a good challenge against Nigeria and I’m sure it will be a game of fine margins,” the Stade Reims midfielder said.

“They played their game yesterday (Thursday) and didn’t have much time to recover, so we can use that to our advantage. Obviously, the team has big name players, but even then if they don’t have time to recover and all the travels that is involved, it is difficult for them to adjust. We just need to be confident and have a good game plan for us to get maximum points.”

Munetsi says the game against Nigeria is a good platform for the young players in Baltimore Brito’s squad to announce themselves to the world.

“I have had some conversations with them. I even spoke to Tivonge Rushesha and told him that when you see a big name player, he started somewhere so you just have to be confident and do well so that you can also reach that level. I even gave an example of me that I grew up in Mabvuku, but I’m now playing at a very good level.

“To be where I’m right now, it's all about confidence and implementing the skills that you have.

“Those big names in the Nigeria team, most of them grew up in Nigeria so there is nothing to fear. We are here to try our best for the country and once you know that you have millions of people supporting you, you should be confident to play well and get a good result against big teams like Nigeria. That is how you make a name for yourself.”

He said the squad is disappointed that they could not get a result against Rwanda, considered Group C’s whipping boys.

"People were expecting a win against Rwanda, but they must know that this was the first time we were playing together as a team. Some of us are doing well at our clubs and the supporters obviously expect us to do the same for the national team, so we are trying to make sure that we get to the standards of winning these kind of games,” Munetsi said.

“Our supporters need to be patient, we will keep on doing our best to make sure that we try to win the game against Nigeria and ultimately try to win the World Cup.”

Preparations for the Sunday match, however, did not go according to plan for Brito after players refused to train on Thursday in protest over unpaid allowances and appearance fees.

They only agreed to return to work yesterday after the money was transferred to their bank accounts by the Zifa normalisation committee.

The team currently camped in Kigali will travel to Butare today ahead of the match.

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