|Bullish Burundi arrive|
|Thursday, 14 June 2012 13:59|
That game marked the return of Warriors’ coach Rahman Gumbo to the Warriors fold after an eight-year absence while it was the end of Algerian gaffer Adel Amrouche’s tenure in charge of the Swallows dressing room.
The East Africans arrived in Harare with a new coach — Egyptian Lofty Naseem — but they believe that the changes have not affected their game and they were in bullish mood insisting the Warriors cannot block them from their “best chance to qualify for the African Cup of Nations’’.
Winners, tasked his assistant Niyongabo Amars with speaking about the match.
Warriors will be Naseem’s first competitive match in charge.
Amars said although they were expecting a tough encounter against the Warriors, he still believed his charges have the character and the capacity to upstage the hosts and continue with their dream for a Nations Cup debut.
Warriors — had also been improving on their game since they embarked in a rebuilding exercise.
Zambia, they won the Nations Cup with more players who play in Africa for clubs in DRC and South Africa.”
In fact the Warriors game in the last three weeks has been played more off the field than on the pitch with the game’s environment being heavily polarised and politicised.
Despite the Swallows appearing the more focused side Amars also reckoned that the Warriors would still be favourites for the game by virtue of being the home side.
“I think the return match will be different to what we saw when we were at home. Now we are away and the situation is different, Zimbabwe will be on familiar ground and of course they will have their supporters.
Amars said they were not reading much into the Warriors’ poor run of form and the problems the hosts may have had with their players.
“Yes we are confident but we also know that we could lose, win or draw. But we are not under any pressure because we are building a new team and we have young players.
“Burundi people are positive and have been very supportive,’’ said Amars with seven years experience as an assistant coach in the Burundi squad.
“There is a big chance for Burundi to qualify because we know it’s just two rounds and we could be in the finals. We just have to stay positive and focused and we can qualify.
“In the past we had group qualifiers and you would always have two big teams in the group but now there is a bigger chance than before. Even though we have a new coach there has been continuity because most of our players are drawn from the local league.
But for all their enthusiasm the Swallows are facing a Warriors side that has taken a lot of battering in the last three weeks and are desperate for a victory that could also turn them into heroes again.
Gumbo and his men will continue with their preparations at the match venue knowing that only a win will do to rekindle the special bond they enjoyed with their supporters.