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 Egypt's Mohammed Nagieb vies for the ball against Zimbabwe's Denver Mukamba

Zimbabwe hope to become a new force in African football

Egypt's Mohammed Nagieb vies for the ball against Zimbabwe's Denver Mukamba


Warriors captain Denver Mukamba tells Goal that Zimbabwe has the potential to become an unconquerable force in Africa

Zimbabwe has been experiencing a poor run of form and are at the foot of Group G of the Africa zone 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers with just one point in five matches.

Already out of contention for Brazil 2014, Zimbabwe have been using the last three matches to build a squad for the 2015 Afcon.

Mukamba has refused to read much into the poor form, but feels they are a great side in the making.

“We are improving a lot by each game. We work as a team and combinations are starting to build. With time we will be up there with the best teams,” Mukamba told Goal.

“Although we have not been winning, I think everyone can see we are on the right track. We have been playing high-level matches and the boys are now getting used to the big stage. Confidence is building up and if we continue playing strong teams, we will be a compact side,” said the 20-year-old skipper.

Under German-born coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels, Zimbabwe have lost all three competitive matches they have played.

The relatively new and young squad endured 2-1 and 4-2 away and home defeats respectively to Egypt, and an away 1-0 loss to Guinea.

The trip to Conakry was characterised by chaotic travelling arrangements which saw the cash-strapped Zimbabwe Football Association sending a severely depleted side of 14 players for duty.

Missing key players like Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat, Partson Jaure, Matthew Rusike and Belgian-based Ovidy Karuru, the Warriors restricted a highly anticipated rout by the Sly Nationale to a 1-0 loss.

“What shows is that we are improving. We went to Egypt for our first game and everyone expected a heavy defeat for us especially after the Pharaohs had thumped Swaziland 10-0 a few days earlier,” Mukamba said.

“That was the same with the trip to Guinea. They had beaten Mozambique 6-1 seven days earlier. We had little time to train and we almost failed to travel to Conakry where we arrived less than 24 hours before the match.

“Everyone thought we were going to receive some baptism of fire, but we managed to stand our ground and gave a real fight. Chaotic events prior to that game negatively affected us but we remained focused. This shows we are capable of becoming a great side.”

The Wits University midfielder and his Warriors troop conclude their World Cup qualifying campaign with a home dead-rubber match against eastern neighbours Mozambique.

Group G leaders Egypt have already proceeded to the next and final knockout qualifying stage with one game to spare.