Despite missing a barrage of chances, Zimbabwe last night celebrated qualification for the second edition of the African Nations Championships (CHAN), joining southern African neighbours South Africa and Angola in the 2011 finals.
The Warriors beat Seychelles 2-0 to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition that was inaugurated last year.
Sadly for the winning captain Method Mwanjali, Nyasha Mushekwi and Tafadzwa Rusike, they will not be around next year for the finals, which take place in Sudan from February 4-25 as they would have moved to South Africa.
Mwanjali and Mushekwi will move to Mamelodi Sundowns while Rusike moves to Ajax Cape Town.
The tournament is designed for players plying their trade in their respective local leagues who would not normally have a chance to play in the Africa Cup of Nations and finals because of foreign players.
Mwanjali, from the spot, and Rusike scored the two goals for Zimbabwe in the second half to seal a 6-2 aggregate win after mauling the islanders 2-4 in the first leg in Victoria two weeks ago. Between now and December, the Zifa Board will have to work around the clock to ensure enough resources are available for camp ahead of the finals, training allowances and bonuses issues are sorted out.
International friendly matches must be organised in preparation for the finals where the players need to fine tune their scoring after they missed more than 10 clear chances in yesterday’s match.
On the technical front, it would be vital for Norman Mapeza to remain in charge-he has brought some order in the team and built up the confidence levels of some players previously regarded as under performers.
South Africa and Angola have also qualified for the finals after both negotiated away legs to progress to the tournament in Sudan. South Africa drew 1-1 in Lusaka to edge out Zambia 2-1 on aggregate.
Sifiso Mseni put the visitors ahead on 36 minutes, before Kennedy Mudenda equalised for the Zambians with 10 minutes remaining, but South Africa held on to qualify.
Angola progressed with a 2-0 second-leg victory over Malawi in Blantyre. Jose Carlos scored after 15 minutes, before Andre Kuya doubled their lead nine minutes later and secured a 3-1 aggregate victory for the Angolans.