Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Callisto Pasuwa still carries the scars of that meltdown against Tanzania in Harare last year, which ended the team’s 2015 Nations Cup story at the first hurdle, and doesn’t want that nightmare to strike his team again. He has called for the right attitude ahead of the crucial Africa Cup of Nations showdown against Guinea at Rufaro tomorrow where a victory will push his men into a very strong position in the battle for a place in Gabon in 2017.
Pasuwa was still an assistant coach to Ian Gorowa last year when Zimbabwe were held to a 2-2 draw by Tanzania to crash out of the 2015 Nations Cup qualifiers at the very first hurdle. The Taifa Stars had won their home match 1-0 in Dar-es-Salaam.
Tomorrow, the Warriors hope to make a fresh start in front of their fans in a campaign which started on a promising note following that away victory against Malawi. And yesterday, after training, the former Dynamos midfielder demanded that his charges should employ the right attitude first and everything will then follow.
“We were together with Ian Gorowa, and he is one coach who did very well in terms of my coaching career and on that game, maybe, it was because of the attitude, I am saying maybe that is the reason why I am talking about the attitude to the players.
“We approached that game saying we are playing at home, we are playing Tanzania and we are definitely going to win and we conceded an early goal and in the second half we came again and conceded another goal, which is not good when you are playing at home.
“You need to score, you should have to defend,it was complacency also on our side when we played that game against Tanzania.” The coach, who won a record four league titles in a row with Dynamos, says he is going all out for a victory, playing attacking football, but warned he will remain cautious.
“We need to be very very positive in terms of how we fare when we go forward,” said Pasuwa. “We might say we need to be very offensive, but of course you need to attack and then defend. If you attack and attack and leave many spaces at the back you will get in trouble. We need to be a disciplined side, playing it safe will make us have a good result. If they open up spaces at the back then we will use those spaces and again ourselves we shouldn’t leave many gaps when we are going forward.
“We have to be very careful in terms of the transition part of it. If we are attacking and we lose the ball, what we are saying is that we have to come back and defend.” Guinea, Pasuwa says, should not to be underrated at all.
“Guinea are one of the Afcon contenders, they have been playing in the Afcon finals for many times, so we shouldn’t underrate them, we have to go there with the right attitude.
“Remember, when they played in Morocco (against Swaziland), they had a second string national team and this time they have called up their professionals and it is going to be a different game altogether,” he said.
The coach says while he would have loved to have more time with the charges, everyone in the team is aware that they have to get three points tomorrow afternoon. “Being my first time having these boys altogether, some of them it was their first time coming together, we would have loved maybe one or two weeks in order for us to shape up the team but, again, that is the national team for us.
“I think this time it was better than the first game when we played Malawi and I hope the combinations will come good but again it is how these boys will communicate that matter,” he said. Pasuwa said he was not reading much into their opponents who have a lot of players plying their trade in European leagues.
Pasuwa has a relatively strong squad, unlike in the first African Nations Cup tie against Malawi, where their preparations were hampered by chaos with the team arriving in Blantyre just a few hours before the match. But the former Dynamos coach quickly warned that the strong squad he has at his disposal doesn’t guarantee results but the players would have to earn their victory.
“The victory in Malawi was very crucial considering that we didn’t prepare well but we managed to come out with a result,” said Pasuwa. “Now that we are here playing at home and we have got more players in the team that is one area, maybe, I am afraid will make people just think we are going to win.
“We have to play first and do enough to win that game and that comes with playing the game with the right attitude and we need to be positive throughout the contest.”