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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Opportunity for Zimbabwe to show ‘we can perform at big tournaments’ – Musona

4:33 AM EST 1/8/22
Knowledge Musona of Zimbabwe during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals.
The 31-year-old discusses how the Warriors will make history if they go past the group stage of the competition

Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona believes the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon will give them a chance to showcase what they are capable of.

The Warriors will be taking part in their fifth Afcon but they are yet to go past the group stage of the competition.

Under coach Norman Mapeza, Zimbabwe have been drawn in Group B alongside Guinea, Malawi, and Senegal.

“I have already played at two Afcon finals without progressing to the knockout stages,” the 31-year-old Musona, who features for Al-Tai in the Saudi Professional League, told Caf website.

“Doing it now will mean a lot to me as an individual and to the whole team because it will be historic for every player. It’s an opportunity for us to show that we can perform at big tournaments like Afcon.”

Zimbabwe were the first nation to arrive in Cameroon 10 days ago ahead of the tournament and Musona feels coming in early was important for the squad.

“Coming in early was really important for us to be together for longer as a team, while we also acclimatise to the environment for those players who are based in places with different weather conditions,” Musone, who also played for Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, continued.

“We still have more days to train, and we will be ready for our first game. I am confident that we will have a good tournament that will make the whole country proud.”

Zimbabwe will, however, miss the services of their four key players - Marvelous Nakamba, Marshall Munetsi, Brendan Galloway, and Khama Billiat.

While Nakamba, Munetsi, and Galloway are out owing to injuries, Billiat, who features for Chiefs in the PSL, turned down a request to rescind his decision to retire from international football.

“It’s unfortunate that we are missing some players who were with us during the qualifiers because of injuries and other issues, but I think we still have the quality to compete with any team," added Musona.

“I definitely think that we are going to have a good tournament, especially with the preparations that we have done so far, and what we will still do in the remaining days.”

After facing the Lions of Teranga in their opener at Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium Kouekong on Monday, the Warriors will then face the Flames on January 14 and finish their group phase with a date against the Syli Nationale.