Preview: Kenya vs Zimbabwe

The Four Nations Tournament finalists Kenya and Zimbabwe have promised to continue from where they stopped in the semi-finals as the competition wraps up Tuesday with the grand final set for Bingu National.

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat said winning the tournament will be a big boost for the team as they tune up for the World Cup qualifiers in June.

The coach however, says he does not underestimate his opponents.

“We are facing a very good team. You can understand that by the fact that they played Zambia which is a power house in Africa with a great coach. They were 2-0 down and went on to change the result.

‘So, we know we are facing not only quality but also big character and it will be a tough match for us. It means we also need to mentally be ready because we are facing a team which is mentally ready.”

Kenya seem to be favourites in the match having beaten Malawi 4-0 in the semi-final.

But the tactician is not having any of that.

“If you win 4-0 it makes your team more relaxed and a team which came from 2-0 to 2-2 makes them more motivated and with self belief. So, we will see tomorrow what will happen on the pitch. The most important thing is how the boys feel.

“Like always it should be an honour to play for the national team. And I think everybody does not need extra motivation. It doesn’t matter whom you are playing. It’s the national team.”

At the end of the day Firat feels the lesson from the tournament will be plenty regardless of the results.

“There are two components: tactical part, how we go on as a team, and the second part which for me is very important, which players we will have in World Cup qualifiers in June.

“Like I said in the first press conference before, our teams are not like Senegal or Morocco. We don’t have 25 big players. If one or two players are missing, it affects the team wholly.

“So therefore if i put the team altogether, and if they are mentally ready, I think we will have good results in June.”
For Norman Mapedza, the Warriors need to maintain the same mentality they had against Zambia.

“We had a difficult game against Zambia. We won through penalties and you know penalties are like lottery.

“We are now looking forward to the final against Kenya. It’s much about self-belief. It’s much about the group. It’s not about individuals. That’s football. Football is different from tennis where you are always alone on the court. Football is about collective effort.

“And the guys did that against Zambia. I am looking forward to the same mentality against Kenya. The same approach we had especially in the second half.”

Mapedza said though statistics favour Zimbabwe, it will not be to the Warriors advantage .

“Look we played Kenya so many years ago. I Iast played against Kenya in CECAFA Cup. They have changed. Look how they played against Malawi two days ago. They were fantastic.

“The speed, their play, The way they defended, the way they attacked. They looked very solid. I think it’s going to be an entertaining game. Come tomorrow we will be ready.”


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