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Profiling the AFCON teams: Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe have appeared in three AFCONs previously.  (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)

Zimbabwe will be featuring in only their 4th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and their 2nd in a raw since 2017. They have never won the tournament in history and have failed to progress out of the groups in all their first three editions.

In the 2019 edition, Zimbabwe is in Group A alongside hosts Egypt, Uganda and DR Congo.

Zimbabwe did not take part in qualification for any of the AFCON tournaments between 1957 and 1980.

The Warriors first participated in the qualifiers of AFCON 1982 in Libya but never made it to the finals’ tournament. The trend of missing out on qualification continued up until 2002.

2004 would however turn out to be different for the South African side as they finally made it to the finals which were held in Tunisia. At the finals, they were placed in the Group of death alongside Cameroon, Algeria and record holders Egypt.

Zimbabwe made their AFCON debut in 2004.

Their first game ended in defeat as they went down 1-2 against Egypt. In the second game, Zimbabwe once again lost despite scoring three goals on the day as Cameroon beat them 5-3. However, they registered their first win at the AFCON finals as they beat Algeria 2-1 in the final group game.

At the end of the tournament, the Warriors had scored six goals and registered three points but all that was not enough as they finished bottom of the group and thus eliminated.

Zimbabwe once again qualified for the next edition in Egypt and they were placed in Group D alongside Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana.

Once again, they finished bottom of the group with three points after losing two and winning only one game. In the games proper, Zimbabwe lost 2-0 to Senegal in the first game, lost by the same scoreline to Nigeria in the second and went on to defeat Ghana 2-1 in the last game.

For the next 5 editions, Zimbabwe took part in qualification but always fell short.

It was not until the 2017 edition that they return to the finals and were in another hard Group (B), containing Tunisia, Algeria and Senegal. They drew the first game against Algeria but went on to lose the other two. Senegal beat them 2-0 while Tunisia powered past them 4-2.

The results meant that for the third time, Zimbabwe finished bottom of their AFCON group.

Coach

Sunday Marimo Chidzambwa

Marimo is a Zimbabwean association football coach and former player who is currently coach of the Warriors.

Marimo played as a defender for Dynamos with whom he won five league championships. He also played at international level for Zimbabwe, appearing in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in 1980.

After retiring as a player, he went on to manage Dynamos, the Zimbabwe National team (in 2004 AFCON and 2007), and South African team Umtata Bush Bucks, where he was unable to take up the position because he lost his passport. He was re-appointed manager of Zimababwe in November 2008, leaving in May 2010 to manage South Africa’s Free State Stars. Marimo quit Free State Stars in August 2010, later becoming manager of Black Leopards. On 20 October 2012 was banned by the FIFA and ZIFA for match fixing the next 10 years. He was appointed as one of three Zimbabwe national team coaches in July 2017.

Star Player

Khama Billiat

Billiat, 29, is a professional footballer who plays for South African giants Kaizer Chiefs.

He started his career at Zimbabwean side CAPS United before moving to the South African PSL where he has featured for Ajax Cape Towm, Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs.

Billiat has played for three South African clubs

In 2016, he helped Mamelodi Sundowns win their first ever continental title and becoming only the second South African team to be crowned champions of Africa.

Billiat has scored over 50 goals for his four clubs and managed 13 goals in 35 appearances for Zimbabwe.

Projection: Group Stages

Egypt Fixtures at AFON 2019

-Zimbabwe vs Egypt, 21st June

-Uganda vs Zimbabwe, 26th June

-DR Congo vs Zimbabwe, 30th June

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