Zimbabwe: In-Form Zemura Ready to Defuse the Black Stars

In — FORM Warriors utility player Jordan Zemura is relishing his return into the fold ahead of the back-to-back 2022 World Cup football qualifiers against Ghana this month.

Zimbabwe play the Black Stars away in Ghana this coming Saturday before hosting the west Africans in two of the matches which could decide their fate in the campaign.

Already, the Warriors have lost considerable ground in their bid to seal a place in the Qatar 2022 World Cup showdown after picking up just a single point in their opening two games.

They were held to a goalless draw by South Africa at home before suffering a last-minute setback in their 0-1 defeat away to Ethiopia last month.

The back-to-back ties against Ghana could be decisive with the Warriors hosting the return leg at the National Sports Stadium next Tuesday.

There is a fresh feeling in the fold, though, after the sacking of Croatian coach Zdravko Logarusic who has since been replaced by crowd-favourite Norman Mapeza who comes in as the Warriors head coach on an interim basis.

The UK-based players, including Zemura, who have missed the last four Warriors matches due to Covid-19 related logistical challenges, are back and there is renewed optimism the developments could give the Warriors a kiss of life.

Zemura has been in tantalising form in AFC Bournemouth colours since making his full debut at the start of the current season.

The 21-year-old, who has already notched two goals for the English Championship leaders, has expressed confidence the Warriors can win both legs against Ghana to bring their campaign back on track.

“It looks very much a gigantic task but that motivates more,” said Zemura.

“Playing back-to-back matches against such a big name or team like Ghana cannot be an easy task at all.

“It is tough, very tough. But, football has changed and we are looking forward to a very good outing in Ghana before we can talk of the home game three days later.

“Our full focus is on the match against Ghana away. They have very good players in their team but when you also look at ours, you will see quality and depth.

“We have to go out there, play positive football, throw everything and get a result.

“If you look at the log surely, we cannot afford any slip up. We are at a point where we have to win each game no-matter how hard it looks starting from this one on Saturday.

“We have to play for each other, put in that extra and we will get the result that we are looking for,” Zemura said.

Zimbabwe sit at the foot of the four-team Group G table with a single point, three behind leaders South Africa who engage Ethiopia in their own back-to-back ties during the same period.

“We don’t want to rely on the outcome of other matches which we don’t have control over in anyway. We still have much control over our own destiny if you look at the matrix.

“We cannot afford to lose much more ground at the moment.

“We are ready for Ghana, every player is a professional and everyone knows the role he has to play for the team to get the result which we are looking for,” Zemura added.

Zemura, who won the Cherries’ Player of the Month for August, was again in top-form when he played all the 90 minutes in the come-from-behind 2-1 home victory against Sheffield United on Saturday.

The left-back, who has two Warriors caps, had a slow start in the game he garnered a 60-per cent rating before he lifted himself up towards the end of the first half.

With a little bit of luck, Zemura would have registered his name on the scoresheet as well.

“Found it difficult early on to adapt to the conditions and Sheffield United’s cohesive press, with Scott Parker offering plenty of instructions (to him) in the opening passages.

“But as he always tends to do, he grew into the game and as Sheffield United began to tire, he started to venture on these powerful surges forward. Could have got a goal himself after one sequence of play, too,” noted dorsetlive.

“I just hope to replicate my current club form in the national team. There are a lot of factors though but if I can only do that, I hope to help the team in every positive sense,” Zemura said.

Zemura was deployed in midfield in the only two games he has featured for Zimbabwe against Algeria in the 2021 Afcon qualifiers in November last year.

With Zemura coming with a spring in his step, Warriors captain Knowledge Musona also got a huge boost ahead of the Ghana fixtures after scoring a beauty in his Saudi club Al Tai come-from-behind 2-1 win over Al Taawon on Saturday.

Musona cancelled out Sumayhan Al-Nabit’s 59th minute opener with 24 minutes still on the clock before his team sealed the victory nine minutes later.


Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202110040202.html

Author : The Herald

Publish date : 2021-10-04 08:49:48

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