HomeSportSoccerWe are still in: Madinda

We are still in: Madinda

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Warriors acting head coach Madinda Ndlovu believes the national soccer team is not yet out of the African Nations Championships (Chan) despite the 1-0 loss to Niger in the opening match on Saturday night.

Niger and South Africa, the other two teams in Group B, got three points each after South Africa beat Ghana 2-1.

The mathematics of who qualifies for the last eight will become trickier if South Africa or Niger win their second game and the Warriors fail to win.

Should the Warriors win and South Africa and Niger play a draw, that will leave Zimbabwe with three points and the other two nations with four points each.

Wad Mehdani, a regional centre south of the Sudanese capital Khartoum, will now witness the next round of the games on Wednesday.

Speaking after the match, Ndlovu said there were still two more matches to play and they could still make it through.

He attributed the loss to sheer bad luck as they created numerous chances that could have seen them bury the West Africans.

“It still remains an open game; there are two games to go and we are not yet out. I am still confident that the boys will win the next two matches and we can still proceed to the next round,” he said.

“It was a good game, but we got into the game slightly late because we did not have a proper warm-up (15 minutes). We dominated the entire game, but it was just not our day in front of goal.

“We had that chance when (Archieford) Gutu was brought down on the edge of the box and a penalty was not given; that could have changed the game. But all the same, we remain focused on the big job at hand.

“We had a good game plan which we executed well, but lady luck was not with us, Joel (Ngodzo) was denied once, (Clive) Kawinga and Erick (Mudzingwa) both twice; we could have won the game.”

He did not rule out changes in the next game, which could see Gutu starting ahead of Denver Mukamba, who looked uneasy after making some mistakes. That seemed to take away his confidence.

The defence line of Gilbert Mapemba, Nyasha Mukumbi, Qadr Amin and Guthrie Zhokinyi will need to be alert to basic mistakes in the next game, closing in on the man with the ball to cut off his options, speedy recovery after losing the ball and general communication.

The coach can also decide to add some firepower upfront with Norman Maroto partnering Kawinga and Charles Sibanda playing on the left wing link.

The bench is not short on material as Bheki Ncube and Charles Chiutsa can also make a difference in any game.

The Warriors rested for most of the day yesterday and were scheduled for a late fine tuning at 5.30pm to help the boys adjust to the searing heat of Sudan’s second largest city.

The team looked upbeat though despite the loss and after watching a bit of Ghana play against South Africa there seemed to be no fear of their opponents.

Their opponents in the Wednesday match, Ghana, believe their road to the last eight of the tounament will start with collecting three points from the Warriors.

Coach Herbert Addo, like Ndlovu, is looking at the next two games as crucial to his team’s chances.

“There are still two games to play; we can still make it if we win the remaining games.

“We could have done better but you know the playing field was not suitable for football really. We picked up two injuries because of that,” he said.

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