Onisimor Bhasera and his Zimbabwe teammates are preparing for their 2022 Africa Cup of Nations opener against Senegal on January 10, and the veteran defender has admitted the Warriors don’t fear Senegal despite their array of stars.

The SuperSport United fullback is in a buoyant mood ahead of the Afcon finals, the Warriors’ fifth since 2004, and is not bothered by the Lions of Teranga having gone as far as the final in the last edition.

The West Africans boast talents like Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and Ismailia Sarr of Watford. Nonetheless, the 35-year-old defender, one of the most experienced players in the Warriors squad, said they are not intimidated by the big-name players as they believe in themselves.

“We need to do our job and give our best on the field of play. In football, you always need to have confidence and belief and not to be intimidated by the opponents no matter what,” Bhasera said.

“It’s not always about the stars, what is important is to go there with a commitment to do the job, and the result will take care of itself. Even if you lose, you need to remain focused for the next game without burying your head in the sand. We are looking forward to it, and we are looking at going beyond the group stage.”

The former Kaizer Chiefs left-back said the absence of key players like Marvelous Nakamba, Marshal Munetsi through injury and the retired Khama Billiat is an opportunity for upcoming players to shine.

“Injuries and withdrawals do happen before a tournament. That’s football but what is important is for the other players to stand up, grab the opportunity and shine.”

The Warriors leave for Cameroon on Wednesday and play two friendly matches before taking on Senegal. After the Lions of Teranga, they play Malawi’s Flames on January 14 and Guinea four days later.

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