The Young Warriors duo of Archford Gutu and Denver Mukamba have been gutted by the red cards received in Friday’s All-Africa Games qualifier against Botswana as they will now miss the return leg set for two weeks’ time.
Mukamba and Gutu received red cards, both late in the second half, during the second round first leg tie against the Young Zebras of Botswana at Molepolole Stadium in Gaborone, Botswana on Friday.
Said Gutu: “I do not think I deserved a red card. I think that the referee was harsh; I deserved maybe a yellow card. I am so disappointed because this is the second time that I have been given a red card in a space of two weeks. I was also red-carded when we played MC Algers in Algeria.”
Despite missing out on the return leg, Gutu said he is confident that his team-mates would do the nation proud.
“The team has a lot of options. I think they can do without us,”
Mukamba said the referee was unfair to him.
“I believe the referee was not fair. I feel so sad that I will not play in the return leg at home. Our absence will affect the coaches, but they have to make do with the other players in the team,” he said.
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 Prichard 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.
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”.
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. We travelled more than 1 000km to get to Botswana, but we still managed to play very well and I am satisfied with the result.
“Our preparations were not up to scratch as we only had three training sessions before the trip.
“It is a major blow to lose the two players. Our game plan has to change when Botswana come for the return leg. We have to do with the other players in the “team,” he said.