Zimbabwe will chase an upset win over group G rivals and hosts Ghana when the teams meet in a 2022 World Cup qualifier at the Cape Coast Stadium on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 6pm CAT.
Ghana recorded mixed results in their WCQ matches in September, defeating Ethiopia 1-0 in Cape Coast (with a goal from Mubarak Wakaso) before succumbing by the same score in their match away to South Africa in Johannesburg.
The results not only left Ghana in second place on the log on three points (one point behind SA, level with Ethiopia) but also saw the end of coach C.K. Akonnor’s tenure, as the Black Stars opted to bring back Milovan Rajevac – the man who led them to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup.
“The bar was set very high [in his first spell in charge] but we are here to make history,” said Rajevac. “If you don’t believe that, you cannot achieve anything. I strongly believe in my players.”
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, picked up just one point from their September matches to sit at the bottom of group G. The Warriors were held 0-0 in Harare by South Africa, before a 1-0 loss in Bahir Dar at the hands of the Walia Ibex.
Like Ghana, Zimbabwe also took action after last month’s results and axed coach Zdravko Logarusic, replacing him with caretaker Norman Mapeza. The new man in charge says he is excited by the form the national team players have shown for their clubs in recent weeks and is hopeful that they will keep that standard up for the clashes with the Black Stars.
“I have been watching some of their games and they have been doing well,” said Mapeza. “There are some other guys, who are not part of the squad, who have picked up form as well. If you look at Divine Lunga, I think he has picked up very well.
“Our captain Knowledge Musona has scored some goals for his team, Jordan Zemura, Brendan Galloway and many others have been doing well and I hope they will carry their form in the game against Ghana.”
In head-to-head stats, Ghana and Zimbabwe have met in six matches dating back as far as 1996. The Black Stars have claimed three wins compared to one for the Warriors, while two games have been drawn.
The teams’ most recent meeting was an Africa Cup of Nations group stage match in Egypt in 2006 which ended 2-1 in favour of Zimbabwe thanks to goals from Sephas Chimedza and the great Benjani Mwaruwari.
The other group G match on Saturday takes place earlier in the afternoon and sees Ethiopia host leaders South Africa in Bahir Dar.