As champions Zimbabwe began their camp in Harare Friday ahead of their appearance at the 2018 COSAFA Cup, one man who could not hide his eagerness for his maiden dance with the competition is former Kaizer Chiefs and Black Leopards forward Abbas Amidu.
The COSAFA Cup will run in Polokwane between May 27-June 9 but Amidu and his fellow Warriors will only enter the competition at the quarter-final stage in which they will face the winners of Group B.
Although the 28-year old who plies his trade with modest Egyptian outfit Entag Al Harby, has been around for a while, fate had somehow always decided that he would miss the COSAFA Cup even on the occasions when he would have been initially called up as was the case in 2017.
When the Warriors won their fifth COSAFA Cup following a 3-1 triumph over Zambia in the 2017 final, Amidu could not take part as he was involved with CAF Champions League duties with his then club CAPS United.
This time around, the COSAFA Cup has coincided with an off-season break at his Egyptian club and Amidu was among the 15 players to join camp on Day One in Harare and the tall striker who is equally at home in a midfield role spoke about his joy at being able to finally take his bow in the competition.
“I just want to thank the coaches for giving me a chance to be part of the COSAFA Cup squad. My biggest aim remains that of trying to help my country to qualify for the Nations Cup in Cameroon 2019.
“There are no more FIFA dates after the COSAFA Cup and we might not get time to be together for a longer period when we get back to our clubs so we have to win this tournament for ourselves and for the country,’’ Amidu said.
Amidu said winning the COSAFA Cup would somewhat help atone for the disappointment of having been disqualified from the World Cup qualifiers.
“We didn’t qualify for the World Cup so we have to take this tournament seriously and win the Cup.
“It’s my first time to play in COSAFA and I am very excited about. I would have wanted to play last year but I was involved in Champions League games with CPS United and when I became available for the national team during the CHAN we lost to Namibia and that was very disappointing.
“I hope I can make up by playing a part in helping my team to retain the cup,’’ Amidu said.
Having spent three years at Black Leopards at a time when his Warriors mentor Sunday Chidzambwa was the club, coach, Amidu believes the COSAFA Cup presents him with a “second home coming’’.
“I was with coach Sunday Chidzambwa at Black Leopards, I stayed in Polokwane for three years and I will be at home back there, it’s a home-coming for me,’’ Amidu said.
The forward also believes that despite the major changes made to last’s cup winning side, the Warriors have remained string and should be able to reclaim the COSAFA title.
By Petros Kausiyo