By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa
Zimbabwe’s senior football national team returns to Bulawayo exactly 10 years since it played in a COSAFA final at Barbourfields Stadium.
The Warriors take on Mauritius at Emagumeni on Sunday, in a return leg of their first round Championship of African Nations (CHAN) qualifier.
Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) imposed a three match ban on Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) not to use its traditional home, National Sports Stadium (NSS) following a fatal incident at the giant venue as the football administrators launched an experimental e-ticketing platform.
A female Caps United fan was crashed to death by one of the stadium’s gates after a stampede broke out before the Warriors’ last 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier match against Congo Brazaville.
Much like the current squad, the last Warriors’ team to play at the stadium were dominated by locally based players who included tough defender and team captain Method “Yellow” Mwanjale, striker Nyasha Mushekwi, dribbling wizard Tafadzwa “Fire” Rusike and the giant goalkeeper Edmore “ziKeeper” Sibanda
They beat Zambia 3-1 in the final to be crowned COSAFA Cup champions.
Zimbabwe will face African light weights, Mauritius carrying a 4-0 advantage from the first leg in Mauritius, courtesy of Yadah speedy winger Leeroy Mvunga’s brace, Highlander’s Nqobizitha Masuku and FC Platinum midfielder Jimmy Tigere.
The Warriors will continue under the guidance of their former assistant coach Rahman “Rush” Gumbo after the resignation of coach Sunday ‘Mhofu’ Chidzambwa who stepped down last week.
The CHAN is reserved for players who ply their trade in African leagues.
If Zimbabwe progress to the next round they will play the winner between Lesotho and South Africa.