Plymouth Argyle's Onismor Bhasera up for massive game
PLYMOUTH Argyle's Onismor Bhasera is excited about playing in a make-or-break 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier for Zimbabwe tomorrow.
Zimbabwe take a 3-1 lead into the second leg of their final qualifying round tie away to Angola in Luanda.
Should they win on aggregate, the Warriors will qualify for the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations for only the third time in their history.
Bhasera admitted the second leg against Angola was 'a massive game' for Zimbabwe, who are ranked 89 in the FIFA world rankings – six positions below their opponents.
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There are bonuses of up to $30,000 for each player should the Warriors secure qualification.
Bhasera told Herald Sport: "Everyone in the country is rallying behind the team. They can't wait for this match, and it's the same with the players.
"We can't wait to take part in the match and finish the job we have started.
"Angola were the favourites before the first game. The job is 60 to 70 per cent done, but we know anything can happen.
"We just need to go out there and make sure we fight for the whole 90 minutes."
It took Zimbabwe only 35 minutes to take a 3-0 lead against Angola in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie in Harare on September 9.
However, they could not add to that tally, and the visitors reduced the deficit with a goal in the 58th minute.
Bhasera said: "If we had kept a clean sheet, I think I could say right now, 'Yes, we are going to qualify', but they got that away goal. We will just go there with a lot of positivity and looking to win the game again."
Bhasera has become Zimbabwe's regular left-back and is set to make his 20th appearance for the Warriors against Angola tomorrow.
He said: "Any player in the world would love to represent his country so I'm very happy to be part of the national team at the moment. I hope it keeps going."
Bhasera played for Argyle in their 2-1 home defeat by AFC Wimbledon in League Two last weekend, before flying direct from London Heathrow to Johannesburg in South Africa the following day. On arrival there, he caught a connecting flight to Zimbabwe and then travelled to the Warriors' training camp.
Bhasera said: "I always try to get a direct flight because, otherwise, if I go in transit it's a very long time.
"The direct flight to Johannesburg takes me about 12 hours, and then I connect from there to Zim, which is about one-and-a-half hours."
Bhasera missed Argyle's 2-1 home win against Aldershot Town in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Tuesday.
He is also absent for the Pilgrims' League Two clash at bottom-of-the-table Barnet today (3pm).
Barring injury, Bhasera will be available for selection again when Rochdale are the visitors to Home Park next Saturday.
He added: "Of course, all the travelling is tiring but it's something that has to be done. It's up to me to take care of my body and do all my recovery things."
The Africa Cup of Nations will take place in South Africa from January 19 to February 10 next year, so Bhasera could be away from Argyle for an extended period should Zimbabwe qualify.
They have previously qualified for the tournament in 2004 and 2006.
The Africa Cup of Nations used to be held on even years, most recently at the start of 2012 when Zambia were crowned as champions. But the finals will now take place every odd year so they avoid coinciding with the World Cup.
ARGYLE will be in the draw for the JPT southern quarter-finals on Soccer AM, on Sky Sports 2 this morning.