Despite a few narrow misses in FIFA World Cup™ qualifying in the 1970s and 80s, Zimbabwe have not been close to the finals despite being a steady competitor. In the preliminaries for USA 94, they advanced past Egypt and beat Cameroon in Harare after their Italia 90 heroics, and in 2002 they won four of their six final group matches but finished second behind South Africa. Solid campaigns in qualifying for Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 were promising but gave way to lopsided final day defeats - 5-1 in Nigeria and 4-2 at Namibia - that left a sour taste in the mouth.
The current crop
In the era after attacking icons Benjani and Peter Ndlovu, Zimbabwe will have to prove that they can score in qualifying. But with a team made up mostly of professionals in South Africa or Europe’s smaller leagues, the Brave Warriors should have enough experience to be tricky opponents.
The key players
The Zimbabweans have some promising attackers in the form of strike partners Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiart. Veterans Quincy Antipas and Vusumuzi Nyoni offer other options.
Best performance in a FIFA competition: None
Former stars: Benjani Mwaruwari, Peter Ndlovu