Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
SUNDAY CHIDZAMBWA’S records are unparalleled in the history of the COSAFA Cup and the veteran gaffer still has an insatiable appetite for more success at the regional football tournament.
The tourney begins in Durban, South Africa, at the weekend.
Chidzambwa, a serial COSAFA Cup winner, holds the record of being the most successful coach having previously won it in 2003, 2009 and 2017.
The Warriors are on the threshold of another unprecedented milestone of winning three straight championships, which could see them keeping the trophy for good.
Chidzambwa yesterday told the media that while the bigger picture is to do well at the AFCON tournament set for Egypt next month, Zimbabwe will also try to win the COSAFA Cup.
“We are taking both tournaments seriously. We would love to retain the COSAFA Cup and also we would love to go beyond the group stages in Egypt,’’ said Chidzambwa.
“As a coach, if you play in any tournament, (personally) I would like to win or I would like to get to the final in each and every tournament we play in.
“Lifting the COSAFA trophy will be a record so I would love to win the COSAFA Cup and also get past the group stages at AFCON.’’ Zambia and South Africa, who have four titles apiece, are the next best teams after Zimbabwe in COSAFA records.
Chidzambwa has never lost a match at the COSAFA Cup.
The veteran coach has an unbeaten run in this tournament stretching to 18 games.
But Zimbabwe have struggled at the AFCON finals after failing to progress from the group stages three times in 2004, 2006 and 2017.
Most of the Zimbabwe players are in camp and yesterday they conducted fitness tests, as a starting point.
The players who were involved in the fitness tests included Edmore Sibanda, Talbert Shumba, Lawrence Mhlanga, Byron Madzokere, Alec Mudimu, Devine Lunga, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Danny Phiri, Butholezwe Ncube, Ovidy Karuru, Richard Hachiro, Talent Chawapihwa, Leeroy Mavhunga, Thabani Kamusoko, Evans Rusike, Tino Kadewere, Tafadzwa Kutinyu and Rodwell Chinyengetere.
“Since ZIFA allowed us to take 33 players, I think we have enough arsenal to compete in the COSAFA tournament and also to play against Nigeria in that friendly match arranged for us in Nigeria.
“I think everyone in the COSAFA squad will have a run at the tournament. I think all the 33 players will have to play, at least, a minimum of one game each.
“For now we are not dropping any players. We will take all of them to South Africa and then 18 (who form the core of the AFCON squad) to Nigeria.
“Since we are almost guaranteed of playing three games, the other 16 will remain in South Africa fulfilling that fixture (if we make the final),” said Chidzambwa.