Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE international Alec Mudimu is relishing the start of the Welsh Premier League season today and is also hopeful his fellow Warriors will quickly get into their groove to bolster the national team’s African Cup of Nations qualifying chances.
The Warriors’ galaxy of stars, the bulk of whom are based in South Africa and Europe, are just coming out of the off-season break, with their new terms starting just a month before the senior team resume their 2019 AFCON qualifying campaign.
Zimbabwe, looking to build on their opening day 3-0 demolition of Liberia at the National Sports Stadium last year, will travel to Brazzaville on the first week of September to face Congo.
ZIFA Communications and Competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela said the Congolese were yet to advise them of the exact date and venue of the match.
The Warriors are not leaving anything to chance as coach Sunday Chidzambwa has targeted a win on the road or, at least, a draw.
That match looks set to provide Mudimu with his maiden dance with a Nations Cup assignment.
The tall CEFN Druids midfielder, who plays as a central defender for his country, impressed Chidzambwa during the COSAFA Cup tournament in Polokwane.
Mudimu had earlier caught the coach’s eye during a four-nation invitational tourney in Zambia, with Chidzambwa revealing he might have finally found one of the missing links to his central defensive puzzle.
He is now bracing for the start of the Welsh top-flight and the 23-year-old defender told The Herald yesterday that CEFN Druids had enjoyed a fine pre-season which should help them in the championship race.
They play their opening match against Caernarfon Town in North Wales tomorrow night.
“Our pre-season has been good, coming on the back of Europa League the team has been sharp and consistent in winning ways.
“We have only lost one of four in our pre-season games, so I’m very positive moving forward and can’t wait to get started with the season,’’ Mudimu said.
He also hailed the spirit in their dressing room and said they had learnt some good lessons from their brief flirtation with the Europa League which ended at the first hurdle after they were knocked out by FK Trakai of Lithuania.
“The team feeling is good, everyone’s together now — the old and new players —which is important because everyone’s gelling well together.
“I think, personally, looking back from Europe, we can take back and learn more about composure. It was a big thing for us and for big stages like that we must be composed’’.
Mudimu said he was praying that his Warriors teammates would get their seasons off to blistering starts and be in peak form when Chidzambwa’s men regroup for their trip to Brazzaville.
“It’s very, very important for everyone to have a good start to their season because the qualifiers are coming very soon and if all those playing in the national squad have had a good start to the season, and everyone’s fit, sharp and confident it would work wonders.
“With the talent we have in the national squad, one can only imagine how far we can go . . . it’s a very exciting time coming up for us.’’
The South African Premiership started last weekend with the likes of Khama Billiat, Kuda Mahachi and Terrence Dzvukamanja swinging into action at their new clubs – Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits.
Skipper Knowledge Musona will also be featuring for a new club this season, Anderlecht, as will midfielder Marvellous Nakamba at Club Brugge, with both sides featuring in the Belgian top-flight.