Warriors captain Knowledge Musona underlined his growing status as one of the continent’s leading marksmen, after finishing third on the top goal scorers list, at the conclusion of the qualifying matches for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt on Sunday.
The 28 year-old forward, who spent the last three months at SC Lokeren, on loan from fellow Belgian topflight side Anderlecht scored five goals for Zimbabwe during the qualification campaign.
Musona netted once in the Warriors’ 2-0 victory over Congo-Brazzaville on Sunday – a result that saw Zimbabwe secure their spot at AFCON 2019.
The well taken goal on Sunday, meant Musona finished the qualifying series for Africa’s most prestigious competition two goals behind Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo, who scored seven and one goal behind second placed Burundian star Fiston Abdul Razak.
South Africa’s Percy Tau, Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah, Angola’s Mateus Galiano and Naimi Sliti of Tunisia finished on four goals apiece while midfield dynamo, Khama Billiat is among the 17 players who finished the campaign with three goals.
Musona was however the star of the campaign for Zimbabwe, after starting the campaign with a memorable hat-trick against Liberia before finding the back of the net in the Warriors famous victory over DR Congo in Kinshasa.
The former Kaizer Chiefs forward, nicknamed the Smiling Assassin however refused to take personal credit for the team’s successful qualification campaign.
“It feels good (to qualify), but I must give credit to my teammates because I wasn’t playing alone.
“We had a very good campaign, we started very well and we finished it very well. The credit goes to the team and the coaches also, and like I said, overall, we had a very good campaign,” he said.
Musona, who was part of the Warriors squad which crashed out in the group stages of the 2017 AFCON in Gabon, called for adequate preparations ahead of this year’s tournament to be held in Egypt.
“We now have to go back to our clubs and start playing regularly to be fit for the tournament. We also have to try to have a good camp and good games before the tournament so that we prepare well. I think the key to do well at the finals will be to have good preparations. Start camp early as soon as possible and the rest will fall into place if we prepare well,” Musona said.
The draw for the tournament in Egypt – the first AFCON to be played with 24 teams – will take place on 12 April in Cairo, with the tournament itself set to kick-off on 21 June and the final expected on 19 July.