Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
A BATTLE of Limpopo against Bafana Bafana, another duel against the DRC, a possible date against the Pharaohs or the Super Eagles of Nigeria or another tie against Senegal are all possibilities for the Warriors in the group stages of the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt.
The draw is on tonight (8pm) in Cairo and the Warriors were placed in Pot 4 together with Namibia, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Tanzania and Burundi.
This means Sunday Chidzambwa and his men cannot face any of those teams in their group matches, but will face one of the following — South Africa, Uganda, Benin, Mauritania, Madagascar and Kenya — who are in Pot 3 and any of these teams — DRC Congo, Ghana, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Algeria — who are in Pot 2.
One of these teams — Egypt, Cameroon, Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria and Morocco — will also play against the Warriors in their group after the CAF executive used the latest FIFA rankings for deciding the posts.
The top two teams in each group and the best four third-placed teams will qualify for the knockout stages.
Warriors’ team manager Wellington Mpandare believes the number of suspensions some of his key players have endured during their AFCON campaign is a show of the level of commitment Knowledge Musona and his troops have for the cause of their fatherland.
Mpandare is in Egypt together with coach Sunday Chidzambwa and ZIFA board member competitions Chamu Chiwanza.
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo is also in Cairo ahead of the draw that will pit the Nations Cup finalists into various groups and various venues.
Goalkeeper George Chigova will miss the opening AFCON match because of suspension.
“George’s suspension is not shocking. We knew that if he got a yellow card in the last game he would be suspended for the first game of the AFCON tournament,’’ said Mpandare.
“It’s one of those things that happen in football. He was trying to help the team to win and we managed to qualify and we cannot do anything… we can’t even castigate him because that is what happened.
“We lost Knowledge when he got a red card in DRC and he missed the home game against DRC. If you look at the other teams, they also lost players for the opening AFCON games . . . Angola lost Emmanuel Luis da Silva, Cameroon lost Fai Collins Ngoran, Kenya will be without Philemon Omondi Otieno and Senegal lost Sadio Mane.
“So it not like Zimbabwe only who will be affected.’’
Mpandare also hailed the CAF workshop which they held on the eve of the draw.
“Well, it’s very important because that’s where all the tournament’s regulations, laws of the game are discussed. We also did a draw for the hotels and grounds.
“So we now know where group A or B teams will be based. Everything to do with the tournament was discussed from media, security, marketing, playing kits etc.’’
Africa Cup of Nations draw pots:
Pot 1: Egypt, Cameroon, Senegal , Tunisia, Nigeria and Morocco.
Pot 2: DR Congo, Ghana, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea and Algeria
Pot 3: South Africa, Uganda, Benin, Mauritania, Madagascar and Kenya
Pot 4: Zimbabwe, Namibia, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Tanzania and Burundi