Zimbabwe returns to the Afcon 2017
for the third time hoping to shrug off their minnows tag after failing to make it beyond the group stages in 2004 and 2006.
Zimbabwe, who rank 102 in the world and 29 in Africa, won four of their six qualifying matches for the top African football showcase in Gabon next month despite being dogged by financial woe.
The country’s football association is saddled with debt and has at times failed to pay players’ allowances and often depends on well-wishers to cover wages for players and coaches.
Last year the country was disqualified from the 2018 World Cup preliminary competition over non-payment of a $67 000 debt to former coach Jose Claudinei Georgini, better known by his nickname Valinhos.
Zimbabwe face difficult opponents in Group B, which includes Senegal who are hanging on the top step on the continent, and Tunisia and Algeria who are third and fifth respectively.
Zimbabwe had a very impressive record during the qualifiers,” Katsande told AFP.
They may not be the group winner but the boys will definitely leave a enormous impression at the tournament despite being lowly-ranked.
“While many think they will be the punching bag of the group, I am not expecting an early flight back home. They face the best teams on the continent and they certainly need to concentrate 100 percent.”
In their previous two appearances, Zimbabwe failed to progress to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
This time around, Pasuwa has the players and with a bit of organisation coupled with luck, the Warriors can cause an upset.”
The team, combining local and foreign-based players, has been compared to the side which shine on the continent in the 1990s winning 13 matches unbeaten under German coach Reinhard Fabisch.