Mutuma: We need to crush Mali, Uganda

Fungai Muderere
FOLLOWING their Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Zambia in their first game of the African Championships in Rwanda, Warriors lanky forward Roderick Mutuma says there is now a need of attitude change in their camp ahead of their two Group D fixtures against Mali and Uganda.

Kalisto Pasuwa and his men are set to face Mali on Saturday before fighting out with Uganda on Wednesday.

“We could have beaten Zambia. I think we gave them too much respect and as such, we now need to guard against that in our next assignments. We need to tell ourselves that we can do the job. Now we need to grab everything by force,” said Mutuma in an interview from Rwanda via WhatsApp.

Warriors and Chicken Inn steely defender Lawrence Mhlanga said there was a need for every player in the field to concentrate up to the end of the game.

“We just got punished by Zambia courtesy of our sloppy marking at the back. We gave them (Zambia) that goal because Chansa (Isaac) was not being closely monitored. Anyway, we will have to fight against Mali and Uganda. It can still be done,” said Mhlanga, who grew up in Bulawayo’s high density of Mzilikazi.

Utility player Bruce Kangwa who did not feature in the Warriors opener said they had not lost hope.

“We went down to Zambia, but we are not out. We will need to remain focused and play as a team. We need to play for each other and beat Mali and Uganda as we seek to progress to the next round,” said Kangwa.

Chansa, a veteran midfielder, scored in the 53rd minute to give the Chipolopolo a winning start to their campaign on their second appearance at the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.

Uganda drew 2-2 with Mali in the other Group D match.

Zimbabwe, making a record fourth appearance just as Democratic Republic of Congo, failed to break the jinx of not having won an opening match at the CHAN competition.

Their best performance was in South Africa under Ian Gorowa when they reached the semi-finals, but lost to eventual winners Libya.

Now Pasuwa has the unenviable task of reaching the final this year and bringing the top gong back home, with a new set of players, save for skipper Hardlife Zvirekwi, the only survivor from the 2014 edition.

Pasuwa will have to bank on Zvirekwi, Ocean Mushure, Mutuma and Knox Mutizwa. The coach might be compelled to introduce the creative and skillful players that include Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, Nqobizitha Masuku and hard running Highlanders utility player Bruce Kangwa.

Ngodzo, Masuku and Kangwa with the aid of pint sized Ronald Chitiyo can easily become a creative hub that keeps the supply lines open for the strike duo of Mutuma and Mutizwa.

Alternatively, they will have Chicken Inn striker Edmore Chirambadare and Harare City’s Francesco Zekumbawira who had a quiet game on Tuesday.