Zimbabwe ………………(0) 1
South Africa……………(1) 2
Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors slumped to a defeat at the hands of South Africa’s ten-man Under- 23 soccer side in an international friendly match played at Barbourfields Stadium Friday.
The visitors scored through Mandla Masango in the 32nd minute before the Young Warriors equalised through Malvern Dumbura on the hour, before South Africa snatched a win in the 84th minute courtesy of Dino Ndlovu.
Speaking to journalists after the match, Young Warriors coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube said he was happy with the performance of his charges.
He said at the moment, the coaching department was concentrating on building the Young Warriors side.
“We are happy because the boys played well. We only trained yesterday (Thursday) and the boys gave a good account of themselves. We are building this squad and I am confident we are going to have a good squad at the end of the day,” said Ncube.
Zimbabwe were given a glorious chance to level the scores in the 40th minute after referee Mlindeli Ndebele awarded a penalty to the Young Warriors.
Ndebele adjudged that Gladwin Shitolo had tried a “Hand of God” effort to stop Zimbabwe from equalising.
He then flashed a red card at Shitolo, only for Russel Madamombe to send his effort into the hands of a diving Darren Keet.
The Young Warriors were to find the equaliser in the 60th minute after Dumbura blasted home from a rebound.
Dumbura and industrious Joel Ngodzo exchanged passes on the right flank, with the latter sending a humdinger of a shot towards goal. Keet, in a desperate attempt to save the ball, spilled it onto the path of an onrushing Dumbura who made no mistake.
The Zimbabweans then slackened in the 84th minute and were duly punished by South African substitute Ndlovu, who headed home a cross from Michael Morton on the right flank.
The result proved true the threats by South Africans they would not treat Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors with kid gloves during the match.
They first made their intentions of leaving Barbourfields stadium with a win just about 10 minutes after the start of the match.
It was after Sameegh Doutie, who turns out for Ajax Cape Town, had his close-range shot saved by Ariel Sibanda in goal for the Young Warriors.
Doutie had received a cross from Enrigo Adolf on the right flank and tried to take advantage of a drawn-out Sibanda to hit the nets. But the alert goalkeeper managed to back-peddle to his goal area to cut out Doutie’s effort.
Two minutes later, the South Africans launched another raid on the Zimbabwean goal area through Kaizer Chief’s Masango.
Masango rose above the Zimbabwe Young Warriors defenders to nod home a cross from Adolf but his effort missed the cross bar by a few inches.
Zimbabwe tried to get back at their opponents a minute later but their attack, courtesy of the Ngodzo-Patrick Meneli duo, failed to click together to find the target.