Bubbly Bute ready

friendly at Rufaro last month, is confident he will not buckle under the weight of expectations on Sunday.
Katsande was one of the stars of the show during the 2-0 win over Zambia in the international friendly last month. He is expected to be thrust into the playmaker’s role when the Warriors engage

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Liberia during a Group A African Cup of Nations qualifier at the National Sports Stadium.
The powerful former Gunners midfielder was first drafted into the Warriors in March last year when Zimbabwe faced Swaziland in the CHAN qualifiers.
The former Frontier Steel player had, during the same time, also provided the mobility to the midfield as Gunners beat Egyptian giants Al Ahly 1-0 in an African Champions League clash.

But it was his magical show against Chipolopolo that has boosted the player’s stakes. He even earned a dream move from Ajax Cape Town to South African giants Kaizers Chiefs after he was the standout player during the game at Rufaro.
Katsande capped a fine evening by scoring his first international goal for the senior team while his then Ajax Cape Town teammate, Khama Billiat sealed victory with the other goal in the second half.

The midfielder was given a starting place by coach Norman Mapeza to provide the spark in the creative hub of the team. And he did just that.
Previously Justice Majabvi had played in the same position but failed to reach the heights scaled by Katsande during the friendly game.
However, Katsande is aware that the nation is now pregnant with expectations from the man who is seemingly at the top of his game.

“We need all the three points in the game and we are doing everything in our power to win the game.
“I am aware that fans will expect individual players to deliver but we are more concerned with the team effort. Our unit as a team comes first before everything. Individual efforts have to come last. Basically we all want to go and get the three points,” said Katsande.

He is aware of the standout performance he put up against Zambia but said this is now a new game.
“I tried my best against Zambia and did not disappoint. This time I also ask for the supporters to be patient with us. We want the fans behind us all the way,” said Katsande.
For a player who has never played for any junior national teams, Katsande is aiming to make the most of his time with the senior team and believes the game against Liberia will be one of them.
“The Liberians still have a chance to qualify because the race is open. But we have to win and we should not be afraid of them,” said Katsande.

He revealed that he has since settled well at Chiefs and his move has actually spurred him to work harder.
“I have settled well since I moved from Ajax to Chiefs. We have Father (Tinashe Nengomasha) at Chiefs and everything has been going on well for me,” he said.
At Chiefs, Katsande also plays alongside Warriors’ mainstay and team vice-skipper Nengomasha, defence pillar Thomas Sweswe and overlapping left-back Zhaimu Jambo.

He joined Chiefs at the same time the Soweto giants parted ways with hotshot Knowledge Musona who joined Germain Bundesliga side 1899 Hoffenheim. Musona could have been in camp but suffered an injury that has ruled him out of the tie.
The German-based forward is the leading scorer for Zimbabwe in this campaign with three goals.

“So far so good for us with our preparations. Almost everyone is there in the team but maybe we miss Knowledge,” said Katsande.
In Musona’s absence, coach Norman Mapeza has called Dynamos in-form striker Curthbert Malajila who will be competing for a place against Al-Hilal forward Edward Sadomba and Simba Sithole.
Warriors’ team manager Shariff Mussa called on the fans to come in their numbers and rally behind the team that desperately need a win to remain on the right path for a possible chance to qualify for the finals to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The Lone Star of Liberia, are also in the running for a place at the finals after they edged leaders Cape Verde 1-0 in Monrovia.
Francis Doe, who plays in Egypt for Al-Ahly struck the 36th minute goal that revived the Lone Star’s fortunes and the team’s Italian coach, Roberto Landi, appears to have faith in the forward’s ability to make a difference.

Landi’s team started trooping in on Monday and the coach says although they have a lot of respect for the Warriors, they are confident of upstaging their hosts and enhancing their chances of qualifying for Africa’s biggest soccer showpiece.

Landi has brought Jimmy Dixon, who is returning to the squad after missing the home and away fixtures with Cape Verde. Dixon plays for Turkish side Manisaspor while Cyprus-based rightback Solomon Grimes is also in the squad alongside Anthony Laffor of South Africa’s SuperSport.
The Liberians have been promised US$5 000 for each player by their President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf if they beat the Warriors this weekend.
Liberia squad

Goalkeepers: Nathaniel Sherman, James Galley.
Defenders: Jimmy Dixon, George Gebro, Teah Dennis Barrack, Solomon Wesseh, Solomon Grimes, Parrick Gerharts.
Midfielders: Ansu Toure, Mumuni Abubakar, Martin Karndu, Isaac Popo, Alseny Keita Dulee Johnson.
Strikers: Patrick Wleh, Anthony Laffor, Dioh Williams, Sekou Jabateh Oliseh, Francis Doe.

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