Brito bullish as Warriors depart

THE local band of Warriors along with the technical team led by Baltemar Brito left for Rwanda yesterday ahead of their back-to-back 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda and Nigeria.

Both matches are scheduled for Huye Stadium in Butare, about 126km south-west of Rwandan capital Kigali.

Zimbabwe play Rwanda on November 15 before they host Nigeria at the same facility four days later as they mark their return to international football following the lifting of their suspension that lasted for two years in June.

They have been forced to use Huye as their adopted home for the game against Nigeria as there are no CAF-approved venues in the country to host international matches.

This is the first time that Zimbabwe will be hosting an opponent outside its borders.

The local-based squad members left the country yesterday Together with the technical team and some ZIFA officials.

Dynamos captain Frank Makarati, Tanaka Shandirwa, Andrew Mbeba, Peter Muduhwa, Brian Banda, Obriel Chirinda and goalkeeper Donovan Benard along with Saudi-based Gerald Takwara were all part of the contingent that left yesterday.

They will set up camp in Rwanda awaiting the coming of their foreign brigade, who are expected to join them starting tomorrow night. Football leagues across the world are going ahead this weekend and clubs will only release their players after matches.

All called up players are expected to be in Rwanda on Monday where they will train together for two days before they plunge into battle against the Rwandese.

Speaking just before their departure yesterday Brito expressed optimism the Warriors will post positive results. “We are looking forward to a good start in this campaign. We have picked those we think can give us something in terms of getting the results that we want as a squad,” Brito said.

“We are all excited ahead of the two games. They will be tough but we have to fight very hard to get the results that we need”.

Takwara, who is one of the few players to feature for the Warriors in the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon last year said the team should have the heart to fight for the badge.

“I am confident that if we put in the work, we can get something from both those matches. Obviously, these are two big games against good teams. But we are also a competitive outfit and with the right mentality and attitude, we can get something. That’s how I see it,” said Takwara.

“We have top players in the squad who play in some of the most competitive leagues in the world and there is no reason why we should not believe in ourselves”. Zimbabwe are in Group C along with Rwanda, Nigeria, Lesotho, Benin and South Africa and only pool winners will earn an automatic qualification for the World Cup.

Herald

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