The Warriors thrashed the Lone Stars of Liberia 3-0 on Sunday in an AFCON 2019 qualifier at the National Sports Stadium and has set tongues wagging as the Warriors looks set for a new lease of life.
Newly appointed skipper Knowledge Musona opened his reign with a remarkable hat-trick to rank amongst the greatest scorers in Zimbabwean football history.
And it was an impressive afternoon as the Warriors took their Liberian counterparts to the cleaners, but here are the four things we learnt from the match.
MUSONA IS CAPTAIN FANTASTIC
He scored thrice in his debut as Captain. Overall, he looked sharp and the goal scorer in the Warriors over a period of years, and was a constant threat for the Liberians. The 27-year old has proved over the years as he keeps showing how good he is in front of goal. It definitely was not a one man show, Musona grabbed the headlines but like he rightly put it a lot of credit should also go to his teammates.
NAKAMBA is CLASSIC
The Vittese lad is pure class. For someone so young, the way he reads and interprets the game is mind-blowing. He always seem in control and calm in possession, giving out incisive passes and cementing his position in the Warriors midfield. But it was not just Nakamba , who impressed in the midfield as Tanzania based Thabani Kamusoko had a great game as well and was unlucky not to be on the score sheet. Kuda Mahachi’s runs on the wing were a constant threat and he created Musona’s second goal from very little.
THE WARRIORS ARE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Not so many people trusted in the tactics of Norman Mapeza when he took charge of the team for the second time and as a result, there were a lot of doubts as to his ability and tactics. But so far so good. Warriors are now playing with so much confidence that had been lacking in the team for years. The future surely looks bright and if they keep at it, then they will possibly land in Cameroon for AFCON.
THE AMAZING FANS
There is a strong renaissance in the support for the Warriors as Zimbabwean fans have shown the love back to the senior national football team, the Warriors rebuilding process with impressive displays under new coach Norman Mapeza who has given a renewed zeal and fighting spirit among the players.
For the first time in a long while, Zimbabweans have a firm belief that our Warriors will soar with the crop of players in the team and the commitment to ensure that Zimbabwe progress to higher positions.
The Warriora have gradually re-captured the passion and support the team gladly enjoyed in the glory days as the support in Harare showed the overwhelming support the team presently enjoys.
The road ahead is likely tougher
It was definitely a good start , however, it would be dangerous for the Warriors to relax and become complacent. Liberia was a very average side missing their star players and if the FIFA Rankings are anything to go by probably the weakest team in the Group. Tougher assignments and challenges are likely to come against the DRC and Congo ,so the Warriors and nation can celebrate Sunday’s victory but the journey has just began. Crucially we have not qualified for AFCON 2019 yet so there is still a big job ahead , that said the future does look bright!