Emphatic! Young warriors and might warriors impress

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Zimbabwe Under-23 . . . . (2) 4
Botswana Under-23 . . . . . . . . 1

Angola (Women) . . . . . . . .(1) 1
Zimbabwe (Women) . . . . .(0) 1

In-form striker Simba Sithole grabbed a brace as the Zimbabwe Under-23 team booked a date with South Africa after a 4-1 drubbing of Botswana in a second round, second leg Zone Six All Africa Games football qualifier at Rufaro Stadium Sunday.

Sithole’s two goals in the ninth and 71st minutes and further goals by Amidu Abbas and Mathew Rusike made sure the Young Warriors sailed through 6-3 on aggregate after the first leg in Gaborone ended 2-2.

Striker Matsholetsi Sikele scored the consolation goal for the visitors in the 14th minute, as Botswana briefly drew parity early in the first half.

What made the Young Warriors’ victory more satisfying was the fact that they were missing the services of key players Denver Mukamba and Archford Gutu due to suspensions.

The Zimbabwe will now face South Africa’s Amagulug-glug who beat Malawi 5-3 on aggregate despite losing the second leg 2-1 on Saturday.

Young Warriors free-scoring striker Sithole was ecstatic after the match after scoring three goals over the two legs, and said the team had the potential to go all the way if kept intact.

“I’m happy to have managed to score three times over the two legs and generally I’m happy with the form I’ve been in for both club and country this season. Hopefully this will give me the strength to keep working harder as I hope to achieve more.

“I also want to give credit to my teammates for their support and I’m confident that with the quality of players in our team we can manage to beat South Africa and qualify for the tournament,” said Sithole.

Botswana coach Daniel Nare conceded that his charges were just second best to Zimbabwe in the match and attributed the defeat to loss of concentration and “stage fright” by his players.

“Without taking anything from Zimbabwe, I think they just played better than us. We were a bit disorganised defensively and that’s where we lost it.

“I think most of my players were affected by stage fright because of the magnitude of the game. However, I think my goalkeeper did well in the first half to keep Zimbabwe at bay as they could have scored a lot of goals.

“All in all, I want to congratulate Zimbabwe for winning because they were clearly the better side in all departments and deserved to win,” said the coach.

Zimbabwe were clearly the better side from the outset and as their coach highlighted, had it not been of their impressive goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe, Botswana could have lost by a wider margin.

In fact, the hosts threatened to score as early as the first minute