ZIMBABWE football legend Alexander “Cool Ruler” Maseko believes the Warriors will trample over visiting Malawi when the two clash in a crucial African Nations Cup Group L encounter at the giant National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
The Warriors, under the most successful local coach in Zimbabwe in terms of club football Callisto Pasuwa, can be one of the early qualifiers for the finals if they win tomorrow and Guinea lose or draw to Swaziland.
Maseko believes victory for the Zimbabwe side is certain and the nation must believe.
“The boys will win, I have no doubt in my mind that they will do us proud,” said the former Highlanders defender who endeared himself to football fans by his coolness on the field.
He said local football was on the rise and commended Zifa and its technical department for spreading their eyes wide when selecting national team players.
“We have just moved 11 places up the ladder on the Fifa World rankings and that shows that our football is growing in leaps and bounds. We are a foot into the African Nations Cup finals,” said Maseko, who is now based in South Africa.
He, however, warned the boys against complacency.
“They must not think about the finals, as that might put them under pressure. The job at hand now is to destroy Malawi, nothing else. The rest will fall into place after 90 minutes on Sunday,” he said.
A Zimbabwe win and a draw between Swaziland and Guinea or a Swaziland win will guarantee the Warriors a second berth at the continental finals.
In the case of the first scenario, Zimbabwe will take their points tally to 11 points with a game to play while Swaziland and Guinea can only end on nine points. In the second scenario, Swaziland will take their tally to eight points meaning even if the Warriors fall in Conakry in their last match, they can still go through thanks to Article 14.1.1 of the rules and regulations of the tournament.
Wins by both Guinea and Zimbabwe will leave the Warriors needing any other draw other than 1-1 or 0-0 or a straight win in Conakry for them to book a place in the Gabon finals. It’s an option not to be considered.
Article 14 of the Afcon rules and regulations:
14.1. In case of equality between two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the following criteria in the order listed below:
14.1.1: The greatest number of points obtained in the matches between the two teams concerned;
14.1.2: The best goal difference in the matches between the two teams concerned;
14.1.3: The greatest number of away goals scored in the direct encounters between the two concerned teams;
14.1.4: The goal difference in all group matches;
14.1.5: The greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
14.1.6: A drawing of lots conducted by the Organising Committee
14.2: In case of equality between more than two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the following criteria in the order listed below:
14.2.1: the greatest number of points obtained in the matches between the teams concerned;
14.2.2: the best goal difference in the matches between the teams concerned;
14.2.3: the greatest number of goals scored in the matches between the teams concerned;
14.2.4: the greatest number of away goals scored in the matches between the concerned teams;
14.2.5: If after applying criteria 14.2.1 to 14.2.4, two teams are still tied,
14.2.1 to 14.2.4 criteria are again applied to matches played between the two teams in question to determine the final ranking of the two teams.
If this procedure does not allow separating them, the criteria listed from 14.2.6 to 14.2.9 are applied in the indicated order;
14.2.6 the goal difference in all group matches;
14.2.7 the greatest number of goals scored in all group matches;
14.2.8 the greatest number of away goals scored in all group matches;
14.2.9 a drawing of lots conducted by the Organising Committee
P W L D F A GD Pts
Zimbabwe 4 2 0 2 8 3 5 8
Swaziland 4 1 1 2 5 8 -3 5
Guinea 4 1 1 2 4 4 0 5
Malawi 4 0 2 2 4 6 -2 2