AFCON 2022 (2021): What bets for Zimbabwe?
by Kevin Richard |
Recommended bets on Zimbabwe for your AFCON 2022 (2021) predictions
The tournament will be the 33rd edition of the competition and the second time it will be played in an expanded format, with 24 teams. It will run for four weeks, and today our focus is on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe have been on the decline; both on and off the pitch, the country isn’t doing well and they will be among the teams expected to have the least impact in this competition. The country’s FA was recently disbanded by the government and FIFA is engaged in talks to find an amicable ending to the impasse. Meanwhile, they are ranked really low going into the competition.
Zimbabwe features among the teams ranked below 100 at the competition. In Africa they are at position 31 and worldwide they are 121st. They go to this competition only better than Sudan, Malawi, Comoros, Ethiopia and Gambia. Among the teams that qualified, Zimbabwe had the second lowest tally of points – 8. They were only better than Sierra Leone who managed seven points.
The turmoil in Zimbabwe starts right from their local league, to the referees, football administrators and the government and even their participation in this competition remains in jeopardy. At the moment, there are moves being made to try and convince one of their top players, Khama Billiat to rescind his decision to retire from international football. Meanwhile, Knowledge Muson and Teenage Hadebe are still injury doubts but could be ready for the competition. Zimbabwe are sure to call on Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba Hamburger SV’s Jonah Fabisch, Ipswich Town’s Macauley Bonne and Tawanda Amswanhise of Leicester City Youth. A number of their top players are also based in South Africa, most notably Divine Luna of Mamelodi Sundowns, Mahachi Kudakwashe of SuperSport Unitedand Knox Mutizwa of Golden Arrows.
AFCON 2022 (2021): Zimbabwe’s calendar
- Monday 10th January | Senegal v Zimbabwe – Bafoussam
- Friday 14th January | Malawi v Zimbabwe – Bafoussam
- Tuesday 18th January | Zimbabwe v Guinea – Yaounde
What to bet on Zimbabwe at AFCON 2022?
Zimbabwe are among the minnows at this competition and with the turmoil in the country’s football and the debacle with key players being injured or pulling out of the team, not much is expected of them. The Warriors, as the team is known, stands a very slim chance of making it past the first round. They are in a group that has two of the biggest footballing nations in Africa – the best ranked, Senegal, against whom they open their campaign, and Guinea, another top name in African football. Maybe the easiest opponent they meet in Group B is Malawi, who happen to be the lowest ranked in the pool. Their best shot at qualifying for the second round could be through finishing as one of the best third place finishers.
Five points can be a good target for them but having to face Senegal and Guinea, that is easier said than done. In five matches against Malawi, Zimbabwe are unbeaten and emerged winners on three occasions. Meanwhile, in six matches against Guinea, they have no win and lost three while against Senegal they’ve met three times and lost all. They should be able to beat Malawi at all costs, then employ good game management against the two giants. A third place finish for Zimbabwe is possible here, but they may fail to hit the required points to advance as one of the best third placed. Also, Zimbabwe are generally low scorers; they haven’t managed more than a goal in 14 of their last 15 matches, so that should also come into account here. While at it they haven’t managed a clean sheet in the last five.
Zimbabwe were dismal in their matches in the 2022 World Cup qualification in the CAF region. Well, in a group that had Ghana and South Africa, they weren’t expected to fly high, bit Zimbabwe failed to fly at all. They finished bottom of the group and winless, managing just two points after losing four of their six matches. They will need a lot of improvement to be able to match the standards they will meet in their AFCON 2021 group.
Did you know?
This is the fifth time in their history that Zimbabwe qualified for AFCON. They have been there in 2004, 2006,2017 and 2019. In all their previous appearances, Zimbabwe have never gone past the group stages.
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