AFTER Congo’s victory over Liberia on Friday blew Group G wide open, all eyes are now on the clash between group favorites DR Congo and Zimbabwe on Saturday night.
The match kicks off at 7:30 PM and will be live on SuperSport.
Congo’s 3-1 win over Liberia in Brazzaville left the central African nation on four points, level with both Zimbabwe and DR Congo, although the Warriors lead Group G by a superior goal difference.
The Warriors are now hard pressed to come out with at least a point from Kinshasa to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
The top two nations will qualify from each group after CAF expanded the number of teams at the finals from 16 to 24.
Most Zimbabwean fans interviewed by the Sunday Mail are still optimistic about the nation’s chances despite Friday’s result in Brazzaville, which thrust Congo Brazzaville back into the picture.
Friends of the Warriors leader Edward “Chairman” Chimedza is convinced Zimbabwe has quality players who can cause an upset in DR Congo.
“The Warriors have quality players, Khama Billiat is on top of his game and Marvellous Nakamba played a UEFA Champions League game recently.
“This shows you that we are a team that has quality, on top of that we have a coach like Sunday Chidzambwa who is renowned for his defensive approach which I am sure will earn us at least a point in Kinshasa.
“There is nothing special about the DR Congo, yes they might have stars but we are the Warriors,” boasted Chimedza, a staunch football supporter who usually accompanies the Warriors on their foreign assignments.
Renowned Warriors cheer leader Chris “Romario” Musekiwa predicts a close contest but is convinced Zimbabwe will maintain its unbeaten record in Group G.
The Warriors are yet to taste defeat having beaten Liberia 3-0 at home last year before drawing 1-1 against Congo in Brazzaville last month.
“This game is going to be a close contest, but we are convinced our Warriors will maintain their unbeaten record.
“They (DR Congo) have a number of European based stars but we have our own match winners like Musona (Knowledge), Billiat and the skilful Ovidy Karuru who is back in the fold.
“I am convinced we will get a point from DR Congo and as cheer leaders we are urging all Zimbabweans to rally behind the Warriors in spirit,” said Musekiwa.
DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge has called in a powerful squad that is headlined by Africa’s most expensive player Cedric Bakambu, the former Villareal man who is now plying his trade in the Chinese Super League.
West Ham United defender Arthur Masauku, Junior Kabananga (Astana), Gael Kakuta (Rayo Vallecano) and Marcel Tisserand (Wolfsburg) are some of the stars in the DR Congo squad.
However, popular Dynamos and Warriors supporter Alvin “Aluvha” Zhakata thinks this is an opportunity for “our stars to shine and outshine the Congolese.”
“We are underdogs but I believe we have enough arsenal to upset the DR Congo in their own backyard.
“Khama (Billiat) is the talk of South Africa, Nakamba is oozing with confidence after finally tasting the UEFA Champions League while the team will also be buoyed by Tendai Darikwa’s timely availability.
“The coach must employ an attacking formation so as to draw the marauding DR Congo wingers back. I am also urging Zimbabweans in and around Kinshasa to throng the match venue on Saturday night and cheer our boys,” said Zhakata.
Mistry Chipere, a very influential member of the Zimbabwe Foreign Legions, a group that has been working flat out to convince European born Zimbabweans to turn out for the Warriors, went a step further and predicted the actual score.
“The Warriors will not lose, the match will end 2-2,” predicted Chipere.