TANZANIA’S visit to Harare for next Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier first round, return leg, may mean disaster to Zimbabwe as home statistics have been not good.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Since Ian Gorowa took over the reins, the Warriors are yet to win any home competitive match since September 2012.
That includes the shocking failure to beat Mozambique and little Mauritius, making Tanzania a real threat to Zimbabwe’s bid for Morocco 2015.
A 4-2 loss to Egypt in a World Cup qualifier, draws with Zambia and Mauritius in African Nations Championships (Chan) qualifiers as well as another share of spoils with Mozambique in a dead bid for Brazil 2014 saw the Warriors going the entire 2013 without tasting victory on home soil.
The last victory at home was presided over by Rahman Gumbo against Angola two years ago, while Klaus-Dieter Pagels was in charge of the Egypt loss with Ian Gorowa at the helm of the other three matches last year.
Another grim reading is that the Warriors have not won their last three competitive fixtures.
A penalty shootout loss to Libya in the Chan semifinals, followed by a 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in that tournament’s bronze playoff before last weekend’s fall to Tanzania, is how the Warriors have fared in their last three outings.
This poor run has been eclipsed by the excitement of reaching the Chan semifinals earlier this year.
These readings are a real cause for concern, something to worry about as Zimbabwe’s Afcon campaign is now teetering on the brink of a big upset.
But coach Ian Gorowa is wearing a brave face and refusing to read into the statistics.
“History has no place in football,” said Gorowa.
“It is negative if we look into the past and try to bring it in the present. We have to be positive and optimistic about the future.”
Tanzania arrive in Harare to face the seemingly jinxed Warriors who have a tough task to banish this recent poor home record.
The loss in Dar es Salaam has plunged the Warriors in danger of early elimination from their quest for a return to the Afcon finals since a decade ago.
Gorowa has acknowledged the magnitude of the return leg and the weight of expectations he is carrying.
“Fourteen million people’s hopes are on this match,” said Gorowa.
“We cannot afford to slip-up. It is a must win but we do not need unnecessary pressure at this moment. Let us just do our job and make sure we beat Tanzania. Whenever England goes to the World Cup, you would think they are going to win it because of the noise that surrounds them, but they always return home with nothing. It is because of this unnecessary pressure which we do not need.
“I do not want to talk about the first leg because it was an unfortunate first half of this round. We just have to rectify the mistakes we made in Tanzania.”
The Warriors are expected to start trooping into camp tonight and 20 players are expected with captain Carlington Nyadombo being the latest to be ruled out due to injury.
“We will see if there is need to add more players after team up on Monday[tomorrow],” said Gorowa.