Tadious Manyepo in BAFOUSSAM, Cameroon
THE Warriors will resume training today ahead of their second game in the Africa Cup of Nations here against Malawi on Friday after spending the whole of yesterday relaxing at their hotel.
The squad just did some recovery exercises, including swimming sessions, following their 0-1 defeat by Senegal in the AFCON Group B opener on Monday in a game they received plaudits even from neutrals.
And Mapeza yesterday opted to give them some hours to recover after working so hard on Monday.
The FC Platinum gaffer, who has given a new impetus to the Warriors who now play a much-more flowing game than before, is mainly concerned about the lack of creativity in the attacking third.
His charges were perfect in every aspect of the game against the Senegalese but they showed a lot of flaws in forward areas.
They were too soft even the few shots at goal they recorded never really troubled Senegal goalkeeper Seny Dieng.
And Mapeza is mostly concerned about this aspect while expressing the need to perfect the other areas the Warriors did well.
“Today (yesterday) we have given the team a rest as we just did recovery training,” said Mapeza.
“I thought there were a lot of positives from the game against Senegal (on Monday). Defensively, we did well. I think Petros (Mhari) did very well and you also look at the two centre-backs Gerald Takwara and Teenage Hadebe.
“Chimwemwe (Takudzwa) and Bhasera (Onismor), who were also playing in defence, gave a good shift as well, so in terms of defensive formation, I think we were spot on,” said Mapeza.
“The midfield was also fine, Madzongwe (Kelvin) and Benyu (Kundai) were also impressive and Knowledge (Musona) did well.
“But, look I have always been telling the players that in modern football, you don’t create too many clear-cut chances. Instead, you have to fully maximise on the half-chances that you get. We have to work on our conversion rate. We need goals to win matches and I believe we will get it right at the end.
“The Senegalese had some tall centre-backs and we didn’t deliver too many crosses as we thought it would lead to loss of possession unnecessarily.”
Mapeza is hoping captain Knowledge Musona and midfielder Kundai Benyu would be fine when the team resumes training today.
The duo was stretchered off in the match against Senegal with Benyu being replaced by Thabani Kamusoko in the 72nd minute while Never Tigere came in for Musona with three minutes to go.
Mapeza revealed Musona complained of some flue-like symptoms at half-time but told the gaffer he would go for some more minutes while Benyu had a knock on his tendon.
However, Mapeza is confident the two will recover well in time for the match against Malawi.
“I have been talking to the team doctors yesterday (Monday) and today (yesterday) about the two guys (Musona and Benyu). I was talking to Knowledge (Musona) at half-time. He felt he had something like flue and was feeling a bit tired but he said he could push for about 20 or so minutes that’s why we kept him in the game. On the flue-like signs, the doctors said he is fine and Kundai (Benyu) just had a knock-like on his tendon but it’s not something bad so we will see tomorrow (today) how they will be doing when we resume training.”
Mapeza and his assistants had a chance to watch most of the game between Malawi and Guinea after the Warriors match against Senegal at the same arena.
“We had a chance to see how they play but remember they had several players who were out due to Covid-19. They have said they will do a retest before our match.
“I think, as we prepare to face Malawi on Friday, we need to improve more on our creativity in the final third. I think if we improve more, especially in the final third going forward, I think it will help us a lot,” Mapeza said.