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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Zimbabwe have done their homework on how to beat Guinea – Mapeza

10:35 AM GMT 18/01/2022
Norman Mapeza coach of Zimbabwe during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Finals.
The Warriors tactician insists they will have to return home with something from Afcon when they face the Syli Nationale on Tuesday

Zimbabwe coach Norman Mapeza believes they have done everything within their means to beat Guinea in their final Group B fixture of the Africa Cup of Nations at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Tuesday.

The Warriors are most probably out of the race to reach the Round of 16 of the 33rd edition in Cameroon after losing their two opening fixtures. They started their campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Senegal before they suffered a 2-1 defeat against Malawi.

Ahead of their third and final fixture with the Syli Nationale, coach Mapeza discusses their analysis of the opposition.

“It’s not going to be easy for us,” Mapeza said as quoted by Zimbabwe FA's social media pages. “They [Guinea] are a very quality side. If you look at players in their squad, they got players playing for top clubs in Europe.

“At the end of the day, we need to go out there tomorrow [Tuesday] with a positive mindset, with self-belief and confidence that anything can happen in a game of football.

“What is important is to prepare the players psychologically to [make them] forget about what happened in our opening two matches. Our focus should be on our game against Guinea tomorrow. It’s all about the psychological aspect of the game.

“We have done a lot of analysis on their game, the two games that they played against Malawi and the one against Senegal. I have an insight of how they play and some other things. We have done our homework and what is left now is for the players to go out there and implement what we have told them.”

Despite losing their opening two matches, Mapeza believes Zimbabwe have not played badly.

“We have played two games so far, and if you look at our performance in those two matches, I think we played very well. Against Senegal, we managed to hold them until the last 20 seconds of the game where we conceded a penalty,” Mapeza continued.

“But there were some positives there. I think we looked very organised in the way we wanted to defend and the way we wanted to attack. Then if you come to our match against Malawi, we had some very good opportunities to wrap up the game especially in the first half but at the end of the day we ended up on a losing note.

“So, from those two matches we picked up a lot of positives, and I think if we can take whatever we did alright in our game against Malawi, then we have a chance of collecting maximum points against Guinea.”

Mapeza has also confirmed they don’t have any Covid-19 related concerns after all players returned negative tests but revealed the absence of two players - Teenage Hadebe and Kelvin Madzongwe – through suspensions.

“We did our Covid-19 tests on [Monday] and all the players, technical team, and the other staff members tested negative,” Mapeza added. “We have two guys sitting on two yellow cards [Teenage Hadebe and Kelvin Madzongwe] so it means they won’t be involved in Tuesday’s game.

“We are going out there to play for the three points. Even if we may be out, we have to go back home with something.”

Guinea are topping the group on four points same as Senegal, who will also play on Tuesday against Malawi.