Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
WARRIORS posterboy, Khama Billiat, will start from the bench when Zimbabwe host Algeria in a 2021 AFCON at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
It’s only the second time Billiat has started as a substitute since the 2017 Nations Cup qualifier against Swaziland at the same venue on March 28, 2016.
With the scoreline still goalless, at the break, coach Callisto Pasuwa was forced to throw him in, at the start of the second half and he provided two assists, and scored the other, in a 4-0 romp.
Marshall Mudehwe, who had replaced him in the starting XI, was targeted by the boo-boys during the entire first half.
However, there will be no fans inside the giant stadium today.
New coach, Zdravko Logarusic, indicated yesterday he would ring changes to the line-up that started the reverse fixture in Algiers last Thursday.
Zimbabwe lost that match 1-3.
And, one of the players dropped is Billiat, who fluffed a good chance to push the Warriors into the lead in Algiers.
Fullback Divine Lunga, who was culpable for two of Algeria’s goals, central defender Alec Mudimu, and midfielder Ovidy Karuru, have all been dropped as Loga will adopt a 4-4-2 formation.
Talbert Shumba, who replaced the injured and error-prone Elvis Chipezeze in Algiers at half-time, will be in goals while Tendayi Darikwa retains his place at rightback.
Adam Chicksen will be deployed at leftback.
Jimmy Dzingai and Teenage Hadebe will play in the heart of defence in a risky move for Loga given centreback partners, just like striking partners, need to get used to each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
The last time Mudimu didn’t partner Hadebe in central defence, the Warriors shipped in four goals against the DRC at the AFCON finals in Egypt last year.
Marvelous Nakamba and Jordan Zemura will provide the midfield defensive shield while Tafadzwa Rusike and Knowledge Musona complete the four-man midfield set-up.
Moyo and Tino Kadewere, the scorer of Zimbabwe’s only goal last week in attack will lead the attack.
Loga has certainly taken some big risks here, which, if things don’t go well might see the coach coming under fire from many quarters.
But, should it reap dividends, he will be hailed for his bravery.
Warriors First XI:
Talbert Shumba, Tendayi Darikwa, Jimmy Dzingai, Teenage Hadebe, Adam Chicksen, Jordan Zemura, Tafadzwa Rusike, Marvelous Nakamba, Knowledge Musona, David Moyo, Tino Kadewere.