ZIMBABWE Under-23 football team coach,Tonderai Ndiraya, says a positive result against Mozambique, when they begin their Africa Cup of Nations campaign tomorrow in Maputo, will define their entire campaign.
The Young Warriors begin their mission to qualify for the African tournament in the second round after they received a bye in the first.
Mozambique beat Swaziland to book a date against Zimbabwe.
Ndiraya said a win, or at least a scoring draw, would be the way to go when they get the ball rolling.
“When we prepare, basically, we prepare to win and, because we are playing away, we will be very happy if we get a win or a scoring draw in that order,” said Ndiraya.
“We want to win and we will be very happy if we win but if that doesn’t happen, I think a scoring draw will be a very good result for us and then we will come back and finish the work here.
“But look, our desire is to make sure that we get a very good result away in Mozambique.
“We would really want to get a comfortable win but this is football, we don’t know our opponents much except the little information we got.
“So, we are venturing into the unknown . . . But we are expecting to get a very good result for the nation.”
The Young Warriors left for Mozambique yesterday with the technical team adding right back Marvelous Chigumira to the team.
They now have a 19-member team.
If Zimbabwe win against Mozambique they will face either South Africa or Angola in the final qualifying round for a ticket to the eight-team tournament scheduled for November in Egypt.
“I think it’s a very crucial match, very important for us as a team and the nation as a whole, because the result will shape the second leg on Tuesday.
“I think we have had about four to five years without any action, the Under-23s are back and that really puts the nation in good standing and I am sure that’s how important this match is,” said Ndiraya.
The top three teams at the continental showcase in Egypt will qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“We have two matches in a space of about four days, so some are going to play in Mozambique then of course those we have left behind will be considered when we come back to play at home,” said Ndiraya.
Goalkeepers: Martin Mapisa (Velez CF, Spain), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum Stars).
Defenders: Peace Makaha (Manica Diamonds), Reward Mwakona (Ards FC, Northern Ireland), Shadreck Nyahwa (Bulawayo Chiefs), Clive Mandivei (Yadah Stars), Mbongeni Ndlovu (Highlanders), Marvelous Chigumira (Telone).
Midfielders: Seth Patrick (Vfb Lubeck, Germany), Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), Matifadza Zata (Dundee United, Scotland), Anelka Chivandire (Triangle United), Nicholas Guyo (Ubuntu, South Africa), Kudzai Dhemere (Dynamos), Marlvin Kwinjo (Ngezi Platinum Stars)
Strikers: Junior Zindoga (Maritzburg United, South Africa), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Obriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn), Delic Murimba (Triangle United).