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Pathetic display from Young Warriors


Poor planning and inept display by the Young Warriors might cost the team’s chances of qualifying for the All-Africa Games set for Mozambique in September.

This follows the team’s 2-0 loss to South Africa at Sinaba Stadium here on Saturday in the first leg, final qualifier match.

The second leg will be held at Rufaro Stadium in two weeks’ time.

Orlando Pirates striker Bongani Ndulula grabbed the brace that gave the visitors a mountain to climb in the reverse fixture.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa)’s inefficiency was once again brought to the fore when suspended midfielder Archford Gutu travelled with the team.

The technical team only realised that Gutu was out of the tie after a pre-match meeting where the match commissioner announced the “news” to the head of delegation Fungai Chihuri who looked bemused.

Gutu was still serving a two-match suspension after picking a yellow card in the previous encounter against Botswana. He had served one match prior to his call-up for the South African encounter.

Sources said an employee at Zifa sat on the information which was sent by the Confederation of African Football, a few days before the match.

Away from the logistical problems, Friday Phiri’s men put up one of the most pathetic displays by the team in this campaign and their ouster in the competition will not be a surprise if they replicate the same woeful performance in the second leg.

In fact they need almost a miracle to overhaul the scoreline against their sublime counterparts who showed that they were well oiled and with a little bit of precision the hosts could have scored more goals but they chose to be flamboyant than efficient.

Despite the setback, assistant coach Darlington Dodo still believes the Young Warriors have a chance to gatecrash their way to Maputo.

“This was a first leg. It is like we are at halftime and anything can happen in the second leg. What we need is to work hard and prepare ourselves thoroughly for the second leg. I am confident we will score three goals at home. We have realised our mistakes and we now know our opponents and will plan accordingly,” said the Gunners mentor at the team’s hotel in Kempton Park.

The South African Press on Sunday revelled in the victory. City Press headlined the triumph as follows “Ndulula brace paves way for Junior Bafana” while the Sunday Times was of the view that “Baby Bafana” were “depleted” and “came up big against Zimbabwe”.

Who could begrudge the locals after a fine display that warmed up the crowd that braved bitingly cold weather in Daveyton, Benoni.

The South Africans were clearly the better side and there was nothing to write home about the visitors save for goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda whose exploits have already attracted several teams in this country and it will be no surprise if the Highlanders goalminder is snatched anytime soon by the better-paying Mzansi clubs.

Goal-getter Simbarashe Sithole was a pale shadow of himself and it was largely because he didn’t get the supply line from the midfield where Abbas Amidu, Devon Chafa and Tafadzwa Rusike struggled with their game.

In defence, tall rearguard Lincoln Zvasiya showed some promise, but his blemish was that of gifting the hosts with an easy goal in the first half after failing to communicate well with Sibanda.

But it was captain Qadr Amini who put up a rare poor show on the left side of the field where the South Africans had a field day as most of their raids emanated from that flank.

The Orlando Pirates-bound leftback needs to polish his act if the Young Warriors want to enhance their chances of going to Mozambique.

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