Warriors captain Knowledge Musona says qualification for the knockout stages of AFCON 2021 would mean a lot to him, and hopes it will happen this time.

The Smiling Assassin, as Musona is fondly referred to by Warriors fans, will be representing Zimbabwe at the AFCON finals for the third time, and second in a row as captain.

Qualification for the knockout stages of the continental showpiece has evaded Zimbabwe but Musona hopes all that changes this time.

“I have already played at two AFCON finals without progressing to the knockout stages. Doing it now will mean a lot to me as an individual and to the whole team, because it will be historic for every player. It’s an opportunity for us to show that we can perform at big tournaments like AFCON,” he told CAF Media.

“Coming in early was really important for us to be together for longer as a team, while we also acclimatise to the environment for those players who are based in places with different weather conditions. We still have more days to train, and we will be ready for our first game. I am confident that we will have a good tournament that will make the whole country proud,” he added.

Zimbabwe will be going into battle without some key players who were part of the group in the 2019 edition in Egypt- Khama Billiat, Marvellous Nakamba, Marshall Munetsi, Tendayi Darikwa and Divine Lunga, but Musona insists the team still posses the quality to deliver.

“It’s unfortunate that we are missing some players who were with us during the qualifiers because of injuries and other issues, but I think we still have the quality to compete with any team. I definitely think that we are going to have a good tournament, especially with the preparations that we have done so far, and what we will still do in the remaining days,” he said.