Zim strikers in purple patch as AFCON beckons
JOHANNESBURG– FOREIGN-based striker, Matthew Rusike, is thrilled he and fellow Zimbabwean attackers have struck a rich vein of form ahead of the resumption of the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualification campaign.
The Danish-based centrefoward, teeming with confidence after taking to the European league like a duck to water, is plundering goals overseas after joining Sweden outfit Helsingborgs IF at the beginning of the season.
Having famed Swedish legend, Henrik Larson, himself a feared striker during his heyday, as coach of the side, has given the 25-year-old a new lease of life.
“I am settling well at my new club Helsingborg IF. It has been a great career move for me and for the future of Zimbabwe football,” the bustling striker told CAJ News Africa from his base in Scania in the Scandinavia nation.
Rusike has been in fine form in the preseason and in good stead for a flying start when the Allsvenskan, as the Swedish topflight is known, kicks off in the first week of April.
He sung Larson’s praises, saying the retired goal scorer inspired his imperious form during the preseason.
“So far, I have played four games and scored three goals with the help of my new coach, the former Celtic and Barcelona legend Henrik Larsson who we all know was an unbelievable striker,” Rusike said of the icon who also shone in the colours of England’s Manchester United during a glittering career spanning over 20 years.
“He is helping me improve my game every day and it is evident with me getting on the score sheet and helping the team in our quest for Europa qualification,” said the player whose side is in the quarterfinals of the Swedish Cup.
The Harare-born striker is among a number of Zimbabwean strikers that are on song ahead of the 2017 Confederation of African Football Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Zimbabwe are set to play Swaziland in a tie is set for the 20 000-seater Somhlolo Stadium in Lobamba on March 25.
With four points from two games, the Southern African country is joint top with the fellow Southern African side in a negotiable Group L that also features Malawi and Guinea.
Rusike’s and fellow strikers’ form has been timely.
Knowledge Musona has been on song for his Belgian KV Oostende outfit.
Aside the duo, Khama Billiat, the Mamelodi Sundowns arrowhead, and Tendayi Ndoro are some of the players on the offensive outside Zimbabwe’s borders.
Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Billiat has been a revelation in neighbouring South Africa as part of an attacking unit that has sent shivers down the spine of opponents in the domestic Absa Premiership.
Orlando Pirates forward, Ndoro, nicknamed “Fire” is setting the league ablaze. His two sweetly-taken goals last weekend in the Soweto derby, arguably the biggest clash in the African sporting calendar, was stuff fairy tales are made of.
Rusike’s namesake, Evans, has been a bright spark in Maritzburg United’s spirited fight against relation from the South Africa elite league.
In midfield, meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs anchorman, Willard Katsande, has been the epitome of consistency, hard work and most recently, goals, for the Soweto club.
“It is encouraging to see the likes of Knowledge doing well in Belgium and Khama as well as Willard shining back closer to home,” Rusike, who has previously starred in the South African elite league, said
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