By Noel Munzabwa
IT'S all set for Swaziland's 16th meeting against Zimbabwe with an explosive duel anticipated in Match Day 3 of the 2017 African Cup of Nations Group L qualifier at Somhlolo National Stadium this afternoon.
The match, to be handled by referees from Angola, kicks off at 3pm and is live on SuperSport.
Ranked seven places better than the Warriors' 131 in the world, Sihlangu will not be easily intimidated and will plunge into battle believing they have a good chance of winning this game.
The Warriors, too, are bubbling with confidence that they can take home the three points at stake.
Speaking to journalists soon after completing immigration formalities at Oshoek Border Post shortly after 4pm, Warriors coach, Callisto Pasuwa declared that his army was here to fight for everything in offer.
"We are here to fight on the field of play, we know it's not going to be an easy fight but we have put ourselves in the right frame and attitude for this tough match," he said.
Swaziland have improved so much and have been doing well on the international scene.
"My boys are ready to leave our best show on the field of play as we know that we are carrying the nation's football success hopes on our backs and shoulders and it will be key to carry the right attitude into the game."
Tear-away forward, Khama Billiat, has been dominating the Swazi media who were saying that his availability for this match was uncertain. Billiat only joined his teammates late after an adventure in Congo Brazzaville with his South African side Mamelodi Sundowns for a CAF Champions League assignment.
He told The Herald that he was ready for the show.
"We respect Swaziland as our opponents and our focus is on tomorrow's (today) match and we need the result as much as Swaziland need it.
"It's not the time to talk about Monday's game before finishing Friday's game," said Billiat, who looked in bullish mood.
Soon after the short interviews, the Warriors were ushered off to Esibayeni Lodge in Matsapha in a luxury coach hired from Johannesburg, not the Quantums used by Young Warriors last year, sandwiched by the Royal Swazi Police VIP escort team and National Football Association of Swaziland officials.
The Warriors will have a feel of the stadium this morning.
"Ideally we would have loved to train at the match venue today (yesterday) but we are not sure. It will depend on what time we get to the lodge and possibly our rest," said team manager Sharif Mussa. Harries Madze Bulunga's lads -- who have been perennial underachievers -- will be hoping to shrug off the monkey that has hounded since their first meeting with Zimbabwe in the Africa Friendship Cup at Somhlolo National Stadium on September 5, 1981, won by the Warriors 1-0.
Since then, we have prevailed over our Sihlangu on 11 occasions including that 5-0 mauling, inspired by a hat-trick from Peter Ndlovu, in the COSAFA CUP quarter-finals on June 27, 2004 and the 2-0 Young Warriors International friendly match win on October 15, 2014.
Their last taste of victory over the Warriors came on May 5, 2002 when they won 2-0 in the COSAFA Cup.
Source: All Africa