Zimbabwe will participate in the Africa Cup of Nations for only the fourth time in their history – but the Warriors have not had much luck. They’ve failed to make it to the next round of the competition in all three attempts.
On their debut in 2004, they were bottom of the pile in Group C, beating only Algeria 2-1 and losing to Egypt (1-2) and Cameroon (5-3). They had the same fate in 2006, placing last in Group D. They managed to beat Ghana 2-1, but lost to Senegal (2-0) and Nigeria (2-0).
Zimbabwe suffered further heartbreak in the 2017 edition, placing bottom in Group B once again. This was perhaps their worst performance in the tournament with only one point earned against Algeria (2-2). They lost to Senegal (2-0) and Tunisia (4-2).
Apart from their inability to make it to the next round of tournaments, they have suffered a lot of heartbreaks in making it to the AFCON.
Zimbabwe are striving for some recognition in African football and the world, now earning 109th place in the FIFA rankings and are 26th in Africa.
Sunday Marimo Chidzambwa has been tasked as the man to lead the Warriors from the bench. “Mhofu” as he is popularly called in the country is enjoying his fourth spell with the national team and was with them in the 2004 AFCON.
Sunday has had the opportunity to manage South African based Free State Stars in 2010. Marimo has not been around without some controversy, notably going through a decade long ban in 2012 from football for match fixing. It will be his opportunity to rewrite his story.
Marimo will have to deal with a largely inexperienced defensive setup. Teenage Hadebe is the most capped player among the defenders with 20 appearances. Teenage and his colleagues will face a tough challenge against the likes of Mohammed Salah and Cedric Bakambu.
How they qualified
Zimbabwe did well to top Group G and book a place in Egypt but their run was certainly not a walk in the park. The Warriors amassed 11 points, 2 more than DR Congo. Zimbabwe blitz past Liberia in their first match. 3-0 was the score line. They lost by a lone goal in the reverse fixture. Sunday’s men got a 2-0 win over Congo and also beat DR Congo by two goals to one. The rest were stalemates.
Who’s in their group?
Zimbabwe will battle for next round qualification with DR Congo, Uganda and hosts Egypt.
The hopes of Zimbabwe will be on the shoulders of the prolific Knowledge Musona.The smiling Assassin played a huge part in the qualification of Zimbabwe, scoring five goals. He is the top scorer in the current squad with 22 in 37 appearances and will look to add to his already impressive tally in Egypt.
Did you know?
The name of the country was derived from the fortified trading hub, Great Zimbabwe, which was built in medieval times and was used by the people of the ‘Shona’ tribe. The people of this tribe constitute the lion share of the country’s population (70%).
One of the largest waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls, is located on the Zambezi River. It is wider than a kilometer and has a height of more than one hundred meters and the noise of the Victoria Falls can be heard from 40 kilometers.
Player to watch
Khama Billiat is one player to seek. The skillful winger has proven to be a handful for defenses on the PSL. He has proven to be good creatively and can go for goal himself, reaching double figures for the national team (13). He’s already stated that his main aim is to secure a move to Europe after this tournament. So he’s got the drive to create some sparks.