THE Zimbabwe senior soccer team has been handed what appears to be a favourable fixture schedule in their 2021 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification bid as they kick off the campaign with a home clash against Botswana in November.
Zimbabwe will also wrap up their campaign with what could be a decisive home clash against neighbours Zambia.
The Warriors were drawn in Group H alongside reigning African champions Algeria and neighbours Zambia and Botswana as they battle for two tickets to the finals that will be held in Cameroon.
Botswana’s Zebras are the weak link in the group and the Warriors will be seeking to secure maximum points, especially at home, which should help build their
momentum ahead of the tougher assignments.
The Zebras had a disastrous qualification campaign for the 2019 finals last year after failing to win a single match in their group which also contained
Angola, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.
Zimbabwe’s neighbours were awful at home – where they were handed defeats by Angola and Mauritania before picking a point in the 0-0 draw against Burkina Faso.
They were equally poor travellers, having been beaten 3-0 away to Burkina Faso, Angola (1-0) and Mauritania (2-1).
That they only managed to score a single goal throughout the campaign reaffirmed their struggles.
Should the Warriors fail to beat the Zebras home and away it might as well signal the end of their campaign considering that they have defending champions
Algeria and perennial bitter rivals Zambia to grapple with.
After their clash against Botswana in Harare falling between November 11-19, the Warriors make the tough trip to Zambia in the same week.
Between August 31 and September 8, the Warriors and Algeria will play each other in back to back fixtures with Zimbabwe playing away in the first match before
they host the Desert Foxes.
Zimbabwe will then travel to Botswana during the weekend of October 5-13 and then round off their campaign with a home tie against Zambia.
In the past, Zimbabwe were haunted by schedules that saw them play the final qualifiers away which often presented a challenge.
In the 2019 campaign, Zimbabwe played their final match at home where they went into the fixture needing at least a draw to seal qualification and they managed a win.
Zifa are in the hunt for a foreign coach following the sudden departure of Sunday Chidzambga. The local soccer controlling body wants to have a substantive
coach in place before the qualifiers begin.
The Zifa technical development committee will meet on Saturday to appoint an indigenous coach to take charge of the African Nations Championships on an interim
basis after which a substantive coach would take over.
Several names, including Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas have been linked with the temporary job.
Currently, Rahman Gumbo, who was assistant to Chidzambga, is in charge of the team. The home-based Warriors on Monday overpowered Mauritius 4-0 and will be
looking to finish them off in the second leg in Bulawayo on Sunday.
The top two finishers in each group qualifies for the 2021 tournament in Cameroon.
Group H fixtures
Matchday 1: Algeria v Zambia, Zimbabwe v Botswana
Matchday 2: Zambia v Zimbabwe, Botswana v Algeria
August 31-September 8, 2020
Matchday 3: Algeria v Zimbabwe, Zambia v Botswana
Matchday 4: Zimbabwe v Algeria, Botswana v Zambia
October 5-13, 2020
Matchday 5: Zambia v Algeria, Botswana v Zimbabwe
Matchday 6: Zimbabwe v Zambia, Algeria v Botswana