CAIRO – A determined Knowledge Musona, Zimbabwe’s captain, wants to prove a point in the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
The Warriors are on the verge of elimination from the Afcon.
Anything less than a win against the Democratic Republic of Congo will see them crash out at the group stage, like they have done in their previous three appearances.
Musona must take some of the blame for his country’s predicament.
He missed a sitter against Uganda in a game where his performance left much to be desired upfront.
Had Musona been clinical, Zimbabwe would have easily beaten the Cranes instead of sharing the spoils (1-1).
But there is no time for the Anderlecht forward to sulk, even though he was heavily criticised for his performance; he has to dust himself up and look to lead Zimbabwe to the last-16 for the first time in the country’s history.
“It’s easy to talk on social media, but when you are in there (on the field), it’s different,” Musona said.
“I will take it because it’s my responsibility. I have scored some goals, and they were happy.
“I expect them to be sad in bad moments. But it’s part of football.
“As a player, you mustn’t take it to heart; rather take criticism and learn for the next game. It’s okay.
“I will take it for the team. I am the captain. I know that the responsibility is on me.
“The only thing is to just focus on the next game and try to correct it. I am sure that anyone can miss in a game; it’s part of football.
“I am not worried about it a lot. I will take it as a learning curve,” said the former Kaizer Chiefs marksman.
Zimbabwe’s clash with the Leopards will be something of a grudge game. The two nations were in the same group in the qualifiers.
Zimbabwe won in Kinshasa and the return game in Harare ended in a draw, which saw them collect four points from DRC and top the group.
Musona finished the campaign as the top goal-scorer in the group with five from six games.
You can’t blame Zimbabweans for believing Musona can carry their hopes – his contribution in the qualifiers speaks volumes about the player’s ability.
But Musona says that’s all in the past.
“This is a different game altogether, because they are not at home,” he says. “It’s neutral. It’s a game that needs fighters.
“The best team on the day has to fight for it and win, because there are no supporters for them and us. It’s going to be 50-50.
“We are hoping to push one gear up from what we did against Uganda and really, really correct the mistakes we made in front of goal.
“That’s our biggest worry. We play very good on the ground, but we need to finish the attack and hit the net.”
The Afcon is the continuation of a frustrating spell for Musona.
The Zimbabwean was loaned to Lokeren by Anderlecht as he failed to cement a regular starting berth.
In his time with Lokeren, where he got game time, they were relegated from Belgium’s top-flight.
Sights from Warriors training session at El sekka-el hadid SC Stadium in Cairo on a Friday evening pic.twitter.com/dknlYHx8nl— Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) (@online_zifa) June 28, 2019
Musona brushed aside speculation linking him back to Kaizer Chiefs, by saying that he thinks that there is no South African club that can buy him out of his contract that has three years remaining.
“I feel happier when I am here with the national team because I am given the time to play,” Musona said.
“I really appreciate the love from Zimbabweans and the coaches. I’ll forget about that (not playing much at my club) because that’s in the past.
“I am looking into the future, and this tournament is the right place for me to show that I am better than before.”