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Warriors hunt for Eagles – NewsDay

Zimbabwe were held to a goalless draw by Rwanda on Wednesday, while Nigeria had to come from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw at home against Lesotho.

WARRIORS vice-captain Marshall Munetsi believes the Warriors can stand toe to toe with Nigeria, saying that the team are evenly matched ahead of their Group C 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier here tomorrow.

The France midfielder reckons the match will be “decided by fine margins”.

The two teams are looking to get their qualifying campaign off the ground after they were both frustrated to draws in their opening matches.

Zimbabwe were held to a goalless draw by Rwanda on Wednesday, while Nigeria had to come from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw at home against Lesotho.

On paper, the West Africans looks favourites to win the match as they boast of superstars in their squad like Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Ihenacho, Taiwo Awoniyi and Ademola Lookman playing at the highest level of world football.

The Super Eagles posterboy Victor Osimhen of Napoli and AC Milan’s Chukwueze are, however, out of this match due to injuries.

Munetsi, one of the few high profile names in the Warriors squad, however, says they will give the former Africans champions respect, but feels Zimbabwe stand a chance in this contest, which he predicts will be very tight.

“It’s going to be a good challenge against Nigeria and I’m sure it will be a game of fine margins,” the Stade Reims midfielder said.

“They played their game yesterday (Thursday) and didn’t have much time to recover, so we can use that to our advantage. Obviously, the team has big name players, but even then if they don’t have time to recover and all the travels that is involved, it is difficult for them to adjust. We just need to be confident and have a good game plan for us to get maximum points.”

Munetsi says the game against Nigeria is a good platform for the young players in Baltimore Brito’s squad to announce themselves to the world.

“I have had some conversations with them. I even spoke to Tivonge Rushesha and told him that when you see a big name player, he started somewhere so you just have to be confident and do well so that you can also reach that level. I even gave an example of me that I grew up in Mabvuku, but I’m now playing at a very good level.

“To be where I’m right now, it’s all about confidence and implementing the skills that you have.

“Those big names in the Nigeria team, most of them grew up in Nigeria so there is nothing to fear. We are here to try our best for the country and once you know that you have millions of people supporting you, you should be confident to play well and get a good result against big teams like Nigeria. That is how you make a name for yourself.”

He said the squad is disappointed that they could not get a result against Rwanda, considered Group C’s whipping boys.

“People were expecting a win against Rwanda, but they must know that this was the first time we were playing together as a team. Some of us are doing well at our clubs and the supporters obviously expect us to do the same for the national team, so we are trying to make sure that we get to the standards of winning these kind of games,” Munetsi said.

“Our supporters need to be patient, we will keep on doing our best to make sure that we try to win the game against Nigeria and ultimately try to win the World Cup.”

Preparations for the Sunday match, however, did not go according to plan for Brito after players refused to train on Thursday in protest over unpaid allowances and appearance fees.

They only agreed to return to work yesterday after the money was transferred to their bank accounts by the Zifa normalisation committee.

The team currently camped in Kigali will travel to Butare today ahead of the match.

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Zimbabwe sees economic growth falling in 2024 due to drought –

HARARE (Reuters) -Zimbabwe’s economic growth is expected to fall to 3.5% in 2024 from 5.5% this year, mainly due to an anticipated drought caused by El Nino, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said on Thursday.

El Nino, a natural climate phenomenon in which surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific become unusually warm, causing changes in global weather patterns, is expected to hit crop yields during the 2023/24 farming season.

Declining mineral commodities prices will also weigh on growth, Ncube said in a speech.

Zimbabwe’s budget deficit is expected to end the year at 1.2% of GDP, he said, while annual inflation is seen falling to 10%-20% in 2024 from 20% in 2023.

“Going into 2024… fiscal restraint and tight monetary policy, together with a healthy current account position, provide the necessary conditions for currency and price stability,” Ncube said.

To enhance revenue collection he proposed increasing toll fees for the country’s busiest road, adding a levy on sugary drinks and introducing a wealth tax.

He also said lithium miners should submit refinery plans by March 2024 to encourage value addition. Zimbabwe is the leading lithium producer in Africa.

(Reporting by Nyasha Chingono; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alexander Winning and Christina Fincher)

By Nyasha Chingono

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Uganda secures qualification for T20 World Cup, Zimbabwe miss out – (Cricket News)

WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) — Uganda secured its place in a global cricket tournament for the first time Thursday after beating Rwanda in African qualifying for next year’s T20 World Cup.

The country of 50 million in East Africa got into the expanded 20-team competition, being co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States in June, at the expense of Zimbabwe — an established cricketing nation.

Uganda defeated Zimbabwe by five wickets on Sunday for its first ever win over a Full Member team in a T20 international, and followed that up by dismissing Rwanda for 65 then reaching its target in 8.1 overs in Windhoek, Namibia.

Namibia has also advanced through African qualifying to complete a lineup of teams that also contains Oman, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Canada. The United States qualifies through being a host country.

Uganda has been an associate member of the ICC since 1998 but does not have test or ODI status.

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Container lines expect greater Panama Canal disruption – Seatrade Maritime News

As previously reported on Seatrade Maritime News the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced further restrictions to vessels starting with only 22 transits from 1 December and declining to 20 ships on 1 January and just 18 ships from 1 February until further notice, as the water levels decline.

Consultancy Alphaliner reported: “Since Q2 [2023], the maximum draught for ships transiting the Panama Canal has been lowered from 14.94m to 13.41m, which reduces the carrying capacity of neo-panamax ships by up to 1,500 teu.”

ZIM is one of the major carriers affected by the canal’s draught restrictions which the company’s EVP and CFO Xavier Destriau said had become an area of “focus and attention” that was preventing the carrier from meeting its schedules and providing its customers with the reliability that they demand.

ZIM believes that one positive effect of the draught restrictions will be the absorption of excess capacity that is currently flooding the market, but Destriau admitted that the carrier has not seen enough of a slowdown in service rotations to shift the dial on the excess capacity being delivered into the global container shipping industry.

“Today it hasn’t changed the needle too much [on excess capacity] and what is more worrisome for our customers is the lack of visibility and schedule reliability that is quite seriously impacted by the current situation,” said.

ZIM is looking into what it can do to protect its schedule reliability, it has already added two vessels to Asia to US East Coast loop, taking the number of ships in this service from 10 ships to 12, absorbing some capacity.

“We are continuing to explore alternatives to protect schedules,” admitted Destriau as the situation around the Panama Canal appears to develop into more serious delays.

Southeast Asia to Baltimore service will have new larger vessels, but so far the carrier has resisted deploying further vessels to meet the draught restrictions and to maintain schedule reliability.

Listen to a recent episode of the Seatrade Maritime Podcast with Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vasquez Morales

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ZIM has so far resisted adding Panama Canal surcharges, however, some of its competitors have decided to cover the extra costs through a levy.

CMA CGM will impose a $150 per teu ‘Panama Adjustment Factor’ (PAF) from 1 January 2024, citing the impact of both the transit restrictions and higher Canal tariffs implemented in January. And MSC has announced a PAF of $297 per teu for its Asia-US East Coast/US Gulf and Asia/Caribbean services transiting the Canal, effective from 15 December, said Alphaliner.

Measures taken to preserve the draught levels, such as the use of water saving basins in the and cross-filling in the panamax locks, levels in the Gatun Lake are said to be “at unprecedented levels for the time of year”.

Unlike bulk carriers and tankers, which have been looking for alternatives to the canal, liner companies have not seen major disruptions in the number of container vessels transiting the Panama Canal, at least up until now.

Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen told Alphaliner that the carrier is closely monitoring the situation to see if one or more loops should be re-routed via the Suez Canal.

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