Pasuwa’s winning formula

Fungai Muderere
WARRIORS coach Callisto Pasuwa has so far used a total of 23 players in the ongoing Gabon 2017 campaign where the nation is four points away from another dance in Africaa��s biggest soccer extravaganza, the Afcon.

Prior to his chargesa�� Warriorsa�� 4-0 triumph over Swaziland on Easter Monday at the National Sports Stadium to gain control of Group L, the history making Pasuwa had used 21 players.

The new additions to the Warriors campaign were CAPS Uniteda��s Hardlife Zvirekwi and Marshal Mudehwe who both featured against Swaziland at home.

In the first game against Malawi which Zimbabwe won 2-1 away, the Warriors starting lineup had Tatenda Mukuruva, Blessing Moyo, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Partson Jaure, JusticeA� Jangano, Willard Katsande, Danny a�?Decoa�? Phiri, Khama Billiat, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Knowledge Musona and Cuthbert Malajila.

Mahachi was later substituted for Eric Chipeta while Musona made way for Marvelous Nakamba.

Against Guinea the Warriors played a one-all draw at Rufaro Stadium where Washington Arubi was in goals.

The defence comprised Jaure, Milton Ncube, Costa Nhamoinesu and Chipeta. Katsande, Phiri Khama Billiat and Musona played in the middle of the park while Malajila and Nyasha Mushekwi led from the front.

Before the end of the match coach Pasuwa introduced Mahachi for Billiat while Mushekwi made way for Mathew Rusike.

On Good Friday, Pasuwa and his charges went for a hunt in Swaziland only to be held to another one all draw after goalkeeper Mukuruva produced some breathtaking saves.

Chipeta formed the Warriors rearguard together with Bidvest Witsa�� Onismor Bhasera and Dynamosa�� combative Elisha Muroiwa. Captain Willard Katsande, Danny Phiri, Billiat, Mathew Rusike were in the engine room while Musona and Malajila started as strikers.

Seeking to salvage three points the Pasuwa-led technical bench threw in Mushekwi in place of Mathew Rusike and Evans Rusike was brought in for Malajila but the Warriors could not just get the winning goal .

Prior to the Warriorsa�� Easter Monday match against Sihlangu, only Katsande, Phiri, Billiat, Musona, Malajila and Chipeta had featured in all the three Afcon qualifier matches.

Katsande and Phiri happened to be the only two players that had completed 90 minutes in the three matches played.

After four matches Katsande happens to be the only Warrior who has completed 360 minutes of actionA� as Phiri was introduced as a second half substitute in the last encounter.

The Warriors have scored in every match and prior to their Good Friday match, the Warriors were yet to keep a clean sheet and their 4-0 home win over Sihlangu happens to their biggest triumph.

The Warriors have come from behind twice-against Guinea and Swaziland a�� in which they had conceded goals in the opening five minutes.

The first win for the nation in this campaign had come from away from home (Malawi) after the Warriors took the lead which lasted only a minute-courtesy of a Musonaa��s late strike. The Warriors managed to secure three points.

On Easter Monday, the Warriors picked a first home win in these qualifiers and also kept a clean sheet for the first time in their four matches.

The Warriors are just four points away from Gabon 2017. On Tuesday, Guinea won 2-1 away in Malawi and are now three points behind the Warriors with two matches to play.

The good news is that Malawi will come to Zimbabwe in June with nothing but pride to play for.

That should see the Warriors take their points tally to 11. Guinea travel to Swaziland and whatever happens 12 points remains the magical number for Zimbabwe.

Beat Malawi and go draw in Guinea is the hardest way. Get the better of Malawi andA� hope Guinea do not collect maximum points in Swaziland is the easier one to help Pasuwa and his boys seal their fate.

With a head-to-head being used to separate tied teams, the Warriors have the advantage of having beaten Malawi away and four points off Swaziland. Guinea pose the only challenge as they collected a point from the Warriors in Harare.

If Guinea win all remaining two matches they will finish on 11 points. However, if they fail to win their next assignment against Swaziland, 11 points will no longer be achievable while the Warriors will get there with a win at home to Malawi.

Pasuwa and his men, enjoy a goal difference of plus five after scoring eight and conceding three-two away and one home.

They are already fancying their chances as they look to end a 10-year hiatus since their last participation at the Afcon finals in Egypt in 2006.

Swaziland will face Guinea at home in their next match and then conclude the campaign against Malawi.

Each of the group winners and the two best runners-up qualify for next yeara��s finals in Gabon.

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