FC Cincinnati
Real Salt Lake
4:30 PM UTC
Game Details
Toronto FC
Minnesota United FC
5:00 PM UTC
Game Details
LA Galaxy
Houston Dynamo
8:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Game Details

Can Zimbabwe get over the line vs. Liberia?

Zimbabwe's impressive away record in the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers faces a stern test away to a Liberia team who have so far proved formidable foes at home in a tantalising Group G matchup on Sunday.

Although Liberia sit bottom of the pile with four points, they still retain a fighting chance going into the penultimate round thanks to some heroic performances in Monrovia, where they held the Democratic Republic of Congo to a 1-1 draw in September before edging Congo-Brazzaville 2-1 last month.

Victory on Sunday would bring the Lone Stars back into the mix, and Group G leaders Zimbabwe can expect a tough afternoon as they look to wrap their own qualification ticket with at least a draw.

It's been a superb campaign for the Southern Africans, who kicked off their quest to make it back-to-back AFCON appearances with a convincing 3-0 win over Liberia in Harare last year.

Zimbabwe then held on for a 1-1 draw in their next qualifier away to Congo-Brazzaville in September, and any lingering doubts about the character and determination of Sunday Chidzambwa's men were put to bed as they collected four points from the double-header against DR Congo last month.

Zimbabwe, now sitting three points clear of second-placed DR Congo, face a challenge of a different kind in Monrovia, with the Lone Stars motivated not only to exact some revenge for that humbling first-round loss, but also to rekindle their own faint hopes of a ticket to Cameroon.

Liberia coach Thomas Kojo will have to do without Norwegian-based striker Sam Johnson, who has dropped out due to injury.

However, Kojo will however be relieved that Newcastle United U-23 midfielder Mohammed Sangare, 19, is available to make his international debut.

Zimbabwe welcome back several key performers, with forward Knowledge Musona and defender Alec Mudimu returning after serving their one-match suspensions.

Former captain Willard Katsande has been recalled from his international retirement.

Le Havre attacker Tino Kadewere also returns from four months out with a knee injury along with fellow striker Evans Rusike, who missed the DR Congo matches.

Nottingham Forest defender Tendai Darikwa however misses out due to suspension, and his right-back slot should be filled by the versatile Marshall Munetsi.

Ronald Pfumbidzai will continue at left-back in the absence of the injured Divine Lunga, while Mudimu should reclaim his place in central defence alongside Teenage Hadebe.

Katsande resumes his partnership with Marvelous Nakamba in central midfield, with the 32-year-old's impressive passing range and positional discipline set to have a stabilising impact.

In the final third, Zimbabwe are beginning to show genuine depth and quality, with the return of Kadewere and Rusike further posing a few selection headaches for Chidzambwa.

Zimbabwe have the option of starting with Musona and Baroka winger Talent Chawapiwa operating either side of centre striker Kadewere, an arrangement would leave Billiat free to play wreck havoc from behind Kadewere in a free attacking midfield role.

Chawapiwa's pace and trickery on the wing proved vital in the 1-1 draw against DR Congo, and his ability to get in behind defences to deliver teasing crosses can boost Zimbabwe's chances of unlocking the hosts' defence.

However, Chidzambwa might also opt to use the 26-year-old as an impact substitute and start with Ovidy Karuru in the attacking midfield position while Musona and Billiat operate out-wide.

FC Platinum star Rodwell Chinyengetere has made the trip, and his goal threat means he is likely to play a part at some stage.

Zimbabwe have scored an impressive seven goals in their first four qualifiers, and they will need to maintain the same level of output if they are to seal qualification for Cameroon 2019 in Monrovia.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.