Warriors’ interim coach, Jairos Tapera feels his troops are showing why they belong in the region’s heavyweight category following their back-to-back triumph against Comoros and Zambia in the on-going Cosafa Cup.

Tapera’s impressive troops will meet guests, Kenya, this afternoon at 12pm Wolfson Stadium in what will be their Cosafa Cup Group B last hurdle.

Unfortunately, they are preparing for this crunch assignment without Michael Tapera due to suspension. Michael has been the Warriors’ stand-out performer, netting twice in the country’s first two fixtures.

He accumulated his second yellow card when Zimbabwe sent Zambia packing following a 2-0 win on Sunday at Wolfson Stadium.

Denzel Mapuwa and Panashe Mutimbanyoka are likely going to be considered to cover Michael’s void. Warriors lead Group B with six points, followed by Comoros and Kenya who are tied on three points.

Defending champions are out of the picture in the chase for a semi-finals spot. But, Comoros and Kenya can still bag six points in the pool.

Warriors’ rocket start has earned them their place among the favourites for Cosafa Cup glory. Despite suffering Michael’s setback, Tapera has hinted at his plan to afford other players the chance to showcase what they can do this afternoon.

“I’m not surprised with how these boys have been doing, I have been watching our Castle Lager Premiership matches a lot and it was easy to pick these players.

“When the opportunity to take the boys to this tournament came, I know what was needed and I saw it as an opportunity to give these boys a chance and their reaction on the field of play has been exactly what I expected.

“They are committed and I also feel that we need to introduce new faces, players who have not seen much action in this competition. Everyone deserves a chance to play at this level and that’s why I’m tempted to make those changes,” said Tapera.

The Warriors enjoyed a party atmosphere when they ended Zambia’s dream to defend their title.

And, Tapera saluted the fans and urged them to rally behind his men who have been flawless in their bid to end a lengthy regional flagship tournament championship wait.

They last won this tournament in 2018 and they appear determined to equal Chipolopolo’s record who have won it seven times.

Tapera hailed the impact of goalie, Rapheal Pitisi.

Tapera also explained why he has found it easy to trust Pitisi despite enduring a reduced role for the better part of his stay at Highlanders.

“He is a fantastic goalkeeper, I have seen him growing from the developmental level and I also worked with him at TelOne.

“He is going where at his place, where he needs to be and I have so much faith in him. “It’s amazing and I’m truly happy for him because those two important clean sheets means he is communicating well with his defence,” he said. He also saluted the Michael’s role in helping the Warriors cause.

“I think people are starting to appreciate him more because at first some didn’t understand why I picked him.

“He has shown what he can do and I’m more than happy with how he has managed to win the hearts of many and I would have loved to have him playing against Kenya but his setback will be an opportunity to someone. “We also have some injury worries.

Joey Phuthi and Malvin Hativagoni are nursing minor injuries and their availability depends on the information that we are going to get from our medical team.”

Bulawayo Chiefs forward, Never Rauzhi is likely going to be given his first start today as he appeared more brutal in Tapera’s last training session ahead of this match.

Venda FC midfielder, Tatenda Tavengwa is also under consideration as he has now featured twice as a second half substitute.

The Chronicles