TODAY, nothing else matters.
It’s just about our boys and their pursuit for a place in the history books.
It’s all about our Warriors, their quest to defy expectations, and go where no other national football team, from our beautiful country, has ever gone.
It’s about love, as defined by our bond with them, about hope, as reflected in their fine performance against Senegal and about dreams, as expressed in their dance with Sadio Mane and company.
It’s about who we are – a proud people, a defiant nation, a football-loving country and one where these Warriors are more than just a national team.
We know what is at stake.
A victory will not only inject life into the Warriors campaign, after the heartbreaking loss to the Lions of Teranga, but it could open doors for us to even reach the knockout stages of the AFCON finals.
It’s something that has never been achieved by our national teams, since we made the grade, to play with the big boys of African football, in Tunisia in 2004.
We came close in 2006, in Egypt, where an effort by Joel Luphahla, which was disallowed in controversial circumstances, in our 2-1 victory over a World Cup-bound Ghana, was ultimately the difference between us going into the quarter-finals, and flying back home.
Ironically, the victory over the Black Stars remains the last time we managed to win a match, at the AFCON finals.
Since then, we have played seven games, at the biggest football festival on the continent, and failed to win any of those matches.
Today, we have a chance to change all that, against very familiar opposition, who impressed, despite their defeat at the hands of Guinea, in their first match.
The last time the Warriors took on the Flames, in AFCON assignments, we were comfortable winners, in the two matches, in Blantyre and in Harare.
Khama Billiat’s wonder goal, which the Malawians would describe as a fluke goal, settled the issue in our 2-1 victory in Blantyre.
It’s a match, which more than any other game we have played in the Nations Cup, showcased the indomitable spirit of our Warriors.
The team arrived in Blantyre on the morning of the game, after a long overnight bus trip from Harare, but they still had the quality, and stamina, to subdue their hosts.
The reverse encounter, in Harare, was a routine 3-0 victory for the Warriors.
Of course, Billiat is unavailable now, with the tricky forward, the last Warrior to score a goal at the Nations Cup finals, choosing to retire from international football.
Captain Knowledge Musona, who has been his trusted partner in the destruction of the opposition, in the past decade, is a doubt for the big game.
Musona has been battling a severe cold, since the beginning of the week, and was unwell when he bravely chose to lead his team, in the first game against the Lions of Teranga.
There is no doubt that the Warriors badly need their captain today and there will be about 16 million Zimbabweans praying that he recovers to take his place in the team.
The Warriors need to score today and it’s an area they have struggled in recent months.
Ishmael Wadi showed a lot of promise, in his first game at the AFCON finals, against Senegal and is he can maintain those levels, he could be a good weapon for Zimbabwe today.
Tino Kadewere could also get his big chance to make a huge impact for his country and finally deliver for his Warriors.
“Obviously, the goal is to win,” said vice-captain Alec Mudimu.
“There is nothing we strive for more than to achieve greatness for our country and fellow countrymen.
“We aim to push to be or do better on and off the pitch in search for new heights of accomplishments and strive for greatness.
“We’re ONE TEAM, ONE NATION, ONE FAMILY.”
What isn’t in doubt right now is that the whole nation is behind the Warriors today.
It will not be easy, especially with so much at stake, but if they can play at a level closer to what they did against the Lions of Teranga, then they have a very good chance.