DAR ES SALAAM — Djibouti put up a spirited performance in their opening football match of Cecafa Tusker Cup, but fell to two Zimbabwean strikes in either half at Dar es Salaam’s National Stadium yesterday.
Donald Ngoma’s 14th minute goal and Qadir Amin’s 73rd minute free kick were enough to send them top of Group A. Rwanda and Tanzania are the other teams in the pool.
The Warriors had arrived from Harare one hour before the match after they were reportedly held up in Nairobi according to the SuperSport 9 commentator Allan Ssekamatte.
However, coach Norman Mapeza’s men had little time to deliberate on the trip tale as they got into the groove.
The Zimbabweans as expected had a lion’s share possession and piles of chances put to waste. The goal scorer Ngoma was among the culprits missing a sitter from two yards and heading wide when he should have beaten goalkeeper Abdu Rahim Yusuf.
Abdu Rahim was suspect in the air from outset and when a long ball from inside Zimbabwe’s half bounced outside the 18-yard line, he had left his line trying to clear the danger, but Ngoma beat him to the ball before slotting to an empty net for the Warriors’ lead.
But the Shoremen of Red Sea were not exactly pushovers of Group A as had been thought as they defended with grit and attacked with promise.
Musa Hiir was the shining light in the Djibouti side hitting the cross bar twice in both halves and often stretching the backline of Timiire Mabura and company.
The Zimbabwean midfielder Charles Sibanda and Eric Mudzingwa continued pressing up as the 1-0 scoreline increasingly gave the Shoremen of the Red Sea belief.
Soon they conceded a free kick on the right midfield and Amin sweetly struck it with his left to the bottom corner with 17 minutes left to play.
Djibouti coach Gharsalli Nourrddine said before the match he wanted to use this tournament to develop a formidable group to work together and he would not overly kick himself with his side’s performance on the day.