Highlands Park goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini says the Zimbabwe national team need to rectify their shortcomings if they are to make a significant impression during the 2017 Africa Nations Cup.
The Warriors are heading to Gabon next year after qualifying top of Group L but Kapini is concerned with the manner in which they lost their final qualifier on Sunday.
Willard Katsande and co. were aiming to be the first team in Zimbabwe’s history to qualify for the continental showpiece without losing a game but went down 1-0 to Guinea in Conakry.
The 1-0 defeat proved inconsequential as they had already qualified but Kapini – who has represented Zimbabwe at the Afcon in 2004 and 2006 – noted, with some concern, key areas that need to be improved upon.
I watched that match [against Guinea] and I think we lacked tactical awareness. I do not want to be too critical because I am also a player and I am aware of the challenges that are associated with playing away from home,”
“To me, Zimbabwe did not create many goal-scoring chances and I think a lot of team effort was lacking. We did not look comfortable on the ball and we did not show the kind of hunger that we demonstrated in the previous matches.
“Maybe knowing that the team has already qualified is something that was at the back of the minds of the players throughout the match. Perhaps the motivation was not there. However, I am sure that the coach has realised our weaknesses.”
Zimbabwe, who now have about four months to prepare for Afcon, will be hoping for an improved performance in the tournament – after their previous attempts saw them fail to go past the first round.
With a number of quality players such as Katsande, Tendai Ndoro, Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and others in the Warriors side, Zimbabwean football are optimistic the team can buck that trend.
However, Kapini urges caution: “Look, Zimbabwean football fans will always be demanding and hard to please. Making the semi-finals of Afcon will be very hard but this is football. The coach and players need to work very hard towards this objective