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Warriors eye World Cup qualification as they face Lesotho in crucial clash

Philemon Jambaya

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Zimbabwe’s national football team, the Warriors, are gearing up for a vital 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Lesotho on Friday.

The match, to be played at Orlando Stadium in South Africa due to the ongoing condemnation of Zimbabwean facilities, holds immense significance for the Warriors’ qualification hopes.

Coach Jairosi Tapera’s men are well aware of the challenge ahead. While historical records favour Zimbabwe, with three wins and two draws against Lesotho in their last five meetings, the Likuena have shown significant improvement in recent years.

While the Warriors boast a strong record against Lesotho, the team acknowledges that past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.

The Likuena have displayed impressive resilience, holding powerhouses like Nigeria and Benin to draws in the qualifiers. Their recent friendly draw against South Africa further underscores their growing strength.

The Warriors are determined to make amends after a near two-year international football ban severely hampered their progress.

Coach Tapera is focused on securing positive results in these upcoming matches to bolster their qualification chances.

The Warriors’ camp in South Africa has seen the arrival of key defenders Devine Lunga and Jordan Zemura. Teenage Hadebe is expected to join the team today, while Brendan Galloway and Macauley Bonne remain unavailable due to injuries.

New faces like Joey Phuthi, Tawanda Maswanhise, Munashe Garananga, Douglas Mapfumo, and Andy Rhinomota are also training alongside a contingent of locally-based players, bolstering the squad’s depth.

This match against Lesotho is a pivotal moment for the Warriors’ World Cup aspirations.

A win will not only boost their qualification chances but also serve as a testament to their resilience and determination. The team, with a healthy mix of experience and youthful talent, is ready to face the challenge head-on.

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