THE Warriors are expecting a tough challenge against neighbours Zambia for the region’s bragging rights in the Cosafa Cup final tomorrow, where the latter would be seeking revenge after losing to Zimbabwe in last year’s final.

BY HENRY MHARA IN POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA

After the two teams’ semi-final success on Wednesday they are priming themselves for a big battle at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane South Africa, tomorrow afternoon.

Kick-off time is 3pm.

Chipolopolo qualified for the final after beating Madagascar 1-0 while Zimbabwe needed a 3-1 penalty shoot-out victory over Lesotho to set a repeat of last year’s final where the Warriors comfortably beat their northern neighbours 3-1.

George Chigova (pictured) was the hero for his team for the second game running saving two penalties against Lesotho in the semi-finals, a follow up of his heroics in the quarter-finals penalty shoot-out win against Botswana when he saved three spot kicks.

Speaking ahead of the final match, Chigova who is now captain of the team following the injury to Ovidy Karuru, is expecting a tough match against a side desperate to atone for last year’s defeat. He is confident they would win the match, a victory that would give Zimbabwe an unprecedented and record sixth title in the competition.
If Chipolopolo win they will equal the Warriors’ number of titles in the competition — five.

“We know Zambia is a hard nut to crack, they will come for revenge since we beat them in the final last year. They want and take the cup from us, we know that, but we are prepared to fight and retain it. We want to play well, and try to do our best to make the whole nation proud. It feels good to be in the final and to be able to contribute for the team success so I’m happy we are in there and we are going to try and defend our title come Saturday,” Chigova said.

The Warriors keeper admitted that his teammates were not in their best form as they huffed and puffed for the entire 90 minutes against a battling Lesotho.

Unlike in the match against Botswana where they also struggled for fluidity, they hardly created meaningful chances this time around.

“This was not the best performance by the team. We did create some chances, but I don’t think they were enough, but as a team we are happy that we are creating them and what is left is to utilise those few and turn them into goals.”

Chigova might have been the hero for the team, saving a total five penalty kicks in the last two matches, but he is hoping that his team would do the job in regulation time.

“We can’t always rely on penalties because luck cannot be on your side every time. I just hope that on Saturday we will do the job in regulation time. In the previous two games luck was on our side, but in future you never know.

“Penalties are a lottery, and sometimes on a bad day things don’t go your way, so I’m happy that I managed to save two. When we went to the penalties I knew they (Lesotho) had watched me in the match against Botswana so they would try to change the sides to beat me. I was a bit clever on them, so I guessed the right side and I managed to save two spot-kicks.”