Botswana . . . . . . . . . . (2) 2
Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . (1) 2
The horror of Algeria rubbed off into the Young Warriors in Botswana last night as Archford Gutu and Denver Mukamba were shown red cards as Zimbabwe picked up a vital away draw against the Young Zebras in a second round, first leg All Africa Games qualifier at the Molepolole Sports Complex in Gaborone.
Team manager Wellington Mpandare also saw red after questioning the referee’s decision to send off Gutu and having “strong” words with the fourth official.
Gutu — in his second international match — received his marching orders from referee Simanga Nhleko of Swaziland in the 97th minute when he was adjudged to have “kicked” Botswana goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe when television replays showed he had jumped over the player.
Both will now miss the return leg set for Rufaro in two weeks’ time.
Only two weeks ago, Gutu was on the receiving end in a Caf Orange Champions League match between Dynamos and MC Algiers of Algeria, for a “no incident”.
Mukamba had scored Zimbabwe’s equaliser, moments after missing an opportunity to give Zimbabwe a win, when he heavily remonstrated against the referee’s decision to award the hosts an indirect freekick.
He continued his raving and ranting and took his sweet time to get off the field and the referee responded by adding more time, 11 minutes to be exact, and eventually Gutu was sent off as the game dragged on.
Said coach Friday Phiri after the match: “We tried our best under those circumstances, but the referee played a huge part in the result for Botswana.”
Botswana had gone ahead in the 14th minute when Kgololelo Letseane finished off a rebound after Young Warriors goalkeeper Arial Sibanda had punched the ball back into play.
But Caps United hitman Simba Sithole pulled the Young Warriors level, finishing off a sweeping move that involved Joel Ngodzo and Mukamba on the half hour.
Three minutes later, the Young Zebras were back in the lead again, this time through Kgalabogwe Kgoyana, who beat a badly exposed Sibanda from inside the box.
Two minutes after the break, a Botswana defender handled in the box during a melee and the referee rightfully awarded the penalty. Mukamba sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Mukamba — before his moment of madness — had the opportunity to give Zimbabwe a win when Gutu ran through the midfield unmarked and unselfishly sent his Dynamos teammate through.
But Mukamba, with clear sight of goal decided on trying to turn an on-rushing defender inside out when there was just no need to do that. The Batswana defence recovered and bundled the ball for a corner.
With six minutes of injury time added, Mukamba, instead of finding ways to make up for his miss, turned on the referee when the Swazi national had awarded an indirect free kick after Sibanda had moved outside the box before releasing the ball.
Gutu was unfortunate — his trailing leg slightly touched the goalkeeper as he was in motion and the Botswana number one made a meal out of it, in the process fooling the referee who reached for the back pocket.
Young Warriors squad
A Sibanda, O Mwerahari, Q Amini, L Zvasiya, T Mamvura, D Chafa, C Mutero, A Gutu, J Ngodzo (M Dumbura 81st min), S Sithole, D Mukamba