The last time the senior men’s national soccer team was in action was on the 19 of November 2019, when they dispatched Chipolopolo 2-1 in their own backyard to bring their AFCON 2021 campaign back on track.
They were still under the tutelage of Joey ‘Mafero’ Antipas then, whose reign as coach on an interim basis came to an end with the appointment of Zdravko Logarušić.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Croat has not overseen a single game since his apppointment, but the crisis has nevertheless portrayed clear pictures of why the team can be a force to reckon in future.
1. Knowledge Musona having game time week in week out at KAS Eupen
The last thing subjective fans remember most about the captain was him missing an open goal at AFCON 2019 against Uganda- on the big stage, in a big game, he couldn’t get the big goal.
Fans turbulent on him to the point that some even suggested that he not be called for national duty, not because of that missed chance, but because he wasn’t playing regularly at Anderlecht.
That nightmarish stint at Anderlecht came to an end when he was loaned to KAS Eupen, where he is always glowing and plays regularly.
Musona having game time can and will be instrumental in the Warriors’s quest to excel going forward as he is a very influential member of the team.
2. Healthy competition for the centre-forward position
I still find it very strange that people refer to Tino Kadewere as ‘Monya’, considering how lanky he is. What I don’t find strange however is the expectation on his shoulders.
He was simply brilliant for Le Havre in the 2019/20 season; he scored all kinds of goals for the French Ligue 2 side and his mega move to Olympique Lyon only surprised those who don’t know what the word means.
The former Prince Edward pupil will play a crucial role in the Warriors’ attack for many years to come, considering that he is still just 24, but equally exciting is the fact that he isn’t even guaranteed the starting role.
Macauley Bonne wil have something to say about that, so does Knox Mutizwa and who knows, maybe even Scotland-based David Moyo.
3. The resolute Hadebe-Mudimu central defence patnership
One has to do a thorough research to figure out the last time the Warriors conceeded two goals or more in a single game with Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu at the heart of defence, that is if it even happened at some point.
The two have formed a solid patnership at the back which can be there for very long time time considering Hadebe is just 24 years old while Mudimu is 25.
4. Chipezeze’s resurgence and Mapisa sneaking into the goalkeeping department
To say that Elvis Chipezeze has been ‘resurgent’ is actually unfair. The only time he has been disappointing in Warriors colors was on that disastrous night against DRC at AFCON 2019.
Apart from that, he has barely put a foot wrong in gold and green and at Baroka.
Truth be told, people are actually starting to forget that horror show against DRC and accepting that he is the Warriors number 1.
The emergence of unheralded Martin ‘Neuer’ Mapisa might be interesting however.
The Spain-based shot-stopper is known, by those who have watched him, to have great reflexes and frankly-speaking, that he was drafted into the Warriors fold for the Algeria double header which was interrupted by the Covid-19 crisis, was not a surprise either.
5. Khama Billiat’s consistency
The diminutive winger has developed a “Cometh the hour cometh the man” reputation for the national team.
His goal against Uganda was the only one scored by the Warriors at AFCON, his spellbindingly-brilliant stoppage time winner against Somalia rescued Zimbabwe’s World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign. His brace against Zambia ensured that the AFCON 2021 campaign is back on track after a dull goalless draw with Botswana.
Amazingly, all the aforementioned happened at a time when he was not at his best for Kaizer Chiefs, hence his consistency for the Warriors is not only crystal clear but also crucial going forward.