WARRIORS legend Peter Ndlovu says Charles Manyuchi’s GBU/UBC middleweight title victory over acclaimed Argentine boxer Pablo Ezequiel Acosta early yesterday morning should inspire the Warriors ahead of the African Cup of Nations football finals in Egypt next month.
The most successful Zimbabwe skipper was one of the revered public figures who braved the punishing winter conditions to cheer Manyuchi at the Harare International Conference Centre.
Manyuchi was seeking a comeback after surrendering the WBC silver welterweight title to Qudratillo Abduqaxorov of Uzbekistan in Singapore two years ago. And Ndlovu, who is now the Mamelodi Sundowns manager in the South African Premiership, felt obliged to back his compatriot on the night.
Manyuchi didn’t disappoint either as he commandeered his opponent who surrendered the fight just before the commencement of the fifth round.
Ndlovu was full of praise for Manyuchi who is trying to find his way back to the top of the sport again.
Importantly, the former Coventry City star felt Manyuchi’s victory at this time of the year, hardly four weeks before the AFCON kicks-off, serves as a good omen for the country before the Warriors begin their hunting expedition in Egypt.
The AFCON starts on June 21 with Zimbabwe opening proceedings against hosts Egypt in Cairo.
Ironically, Zimbabwe played their maiden AFCON game against the same opponents in 2004 when Ndlovu captained the Warriors to their first appearance at the biannual contest in Tunisia.
Ndlovu netted the opening goal of the match before the Egyptians rallied back to win the encounter 2-1.
Zimbabwe couldn’t progress beyond the group stages despite winning their last game against Algeria following a 5-3 defeat to Cameroon in the second game.
The Warriors have been to two other AFCON tournaments in 2006 and 2017 where they haven’t been successful in changing the 2004 script.
But after seeing a marauding Manyuchi bullying his foe in the ring on Saturday night, Ndlovu, who has called on sportspersons to support each other for the benefit of sport, was left convinced even the Warriors can do it in Egypt.
“Charles Manyuchi is a different fighter, he wants to win. His hunger and zeal to win came in handy in that fight. As sports-persons we need to give our own the much-needed support no matter which sport code they will be competing in.
“I read it in the newspapers that Manyuchi had a comeback fight and I just told myself that I needed to be part of his supporters at the venue that is why I showed up.
“This is what we can all do to promote sport in the country as I also still remember that when we used to play football, you would also see swimmers, karatekas, boxers, cricketers and others cheering us on. That is the spirit we need to have if our sport is to grow in Zimbabwe,” Ndlovu said.