Warriors face tough draw at Afcon 2017


The Zimbabwe Warriors face a tough prospect at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals, after they were placed in the bottom pot for the draw, to be held on October 19 in Libreville, Gabon.

The seedings were approved by the Afcon Organising Committee at its meeting at the Confederation of African Football (Caf) headquarters in Egypt on Monday.

The Afcon finals will be played from January 14 to February 5 in four Gabonese cities: Libreville, Franceville, Oyem-Bitam and Port-Gentil.

Zimbabwe are placed in Pot Four alongside Togo, Uganda and Guinea Bissau. In Pot One, the Warriors would draw either Algeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast or hosts Gabon. In Pot Two, there is Tunisia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal, while Pot Three contains former champions, Cameroon, Senegal, Morocco and Egypt.

In coming up with the seedings, the organising committee considered performances at Afcon finals in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and Zimbabwe did not make any of them.

The qualifiers for the 2013, 2015 and 2017 Afcon qualifiers were also considered.

Zimbabwe did well in the qualifiers for the next finals, where they qualified from Group L with one match to spare, but their 2013 and 2015 campaigns, where the team was abysmal, might have returned to haunt Kalisto Pasuwa’s (pictured) team.

Zimbabwe had one of their worst World Cup qualifying campaigns in 2014 and unfortunately for the Warriors, those qualifiers formed part of the criteria for seeding in the Afcon 2017 draw.

In the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, whose finals were staged in Brazil, Zimbabwe were placed in Group G alongside eventual table toppers Egypt, Guinea and Mozambiaque.

The Warriors managed just two points from that group after playing out two draws against Mozambique, while they lost to both Guinea and Egypt home and away.

German coach, Klaus-Dieter Pagels was in charge of the team in that disappointing campaign, before Ian Gorowa took over.

Teams that participated at the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers that include, in this case, Algeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana, earned themselves more points.

For the draw, hosts Gabon automatically go to Group A and holders Ivory Coast will be in C, and a draw will be conducted to determine who goes into Group B and D between Ghana and Algeria.

The second stage will be the drawing of teams from Pot Four followed by pots three and two respectively.

One of the tougher prospects would be the Warriors drawing Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt.

Pasuwa has asked Zifa to organise friendlies with West African nations, but while Zifa has said it has been negotiating with other associations, nothing has materialised so far.

Next week, 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers resume across the globe, but Zimbabwe are not taking part after they were booted out by world body over failure to pay coaches.

There was a proposal for the Warriors to play Nigeria, who play Zambia on Sunday October 2 in Lusaka and yesterday, Zifa said they were still pursuing the former African champions.

Zifa president, Philip Chiyangwa is in Egypt for a Caf congress and he is expected to engage other nations for possible friendly matches for the Warriors.

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