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Missiles, unruly fans and missed chances


Is it the National Sports Stadium (NSS) curse or it is just the usual bad start that has seen the Warriors fail to qualify for major tournaments?

Whatever it was, it was another nightmarish afternoon for the Warriors as they fell 1-0 to Guinea in a 2014 World Cup qualifier which ended with angry fans throwing missiles onto the pitch, forcing the visitors and match officials to scurry for cover.

A number of fans were at the receiving end from the anti-riot police who mercilessly dished out instant justice against those caught on the wrong end of the law.

But what is certain for now is that Fifa will come down heavily on Zifa in the aftermath of the violence after match commissioner Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar was almost struck with a plastic container as he headed for the dressing rooms.

Zimbabwe has never been lucky at this venue, which is why the players and fans had wanted the match moved to Rufaro.

The second match of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers produced a dour 0-0 against the Cape Verde Islands and it was those two dropped points that counted against us and we lost 2-1 to the same team in the penultimate qualifier.

Then, the draw was fuelled by Zifas indecision as they opted to have Norman Mapeza and Madinda Ndlovu in joint charge of the team on the day.

Mapeza, though took full control of the proceedings barking out instructions from the touchline throughout the match.

While the fans and police battled it out at the other ends, a clearly intoxicated lady alleged that coach Rahman Gumbo was practising racism, whatever that meant while a number of fans demanded answers from Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede and board member (competitions) Benedict Moyo from the VIP stands.

The real bone of contention in those discussions was not the performance of the team; rather it centred on the person of the coach.

And their cry resonated with the fans singing songs against the coach and calling for the return of Mapeza. How sickening it was. Mapeza is under suspension and investigation for being fingered in the Asiagate scandal and he alsopresided over Zimbabwes failed bid to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

Even as Mapeza watched the match, smiling from time to time, he can tell you it was not a pleasant sight because it can happen to any coach, including himself.

On the field of play, it was simply tale of missed chances and the two culprits were Takesure Chinyama and Knowledge Musona.

Chances went begging from the start and Chinyama, who has been a revelation at Dynamos, was the chief culprit while Musona had his chances in the second half.

The best for Musona came when he broke clear, but smashed the ball against the face of goalkeeper Yattara in a one-on-one situation.
Chinyama, perhaps, had more on his mind than this game as he was the player at the centre of a failed midnight smuggling attempt during camp last week by a player agent who wanted to take him to South Africa for medicals.

There was no menace in his attack, like he does at Dynamos and he lacked that killer instinct that once made him the top goalscorer in Poland.

Musonas German move seems to have blunted him. He scored in every game in the last campaign and scored in the Warriors 2-1 loss to Burundi in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on February 29.

Perhaps the major point was in midfield where Archford Gutu failed to rise to the occasion and had to be taken out for Willard Katsande who provided that mobility needed in the engine room and had a crack shot on target.

After this loss, Zimbabwe has no chance to regroup they have to travel to Maputo, Mozambique for the second must-win qualifier and face Burundi-at the NSS again, on June 17.

Egypt, the other team in the group, lead the standings with three points after beating Mozambique 2-0.

The Warriors are third in a group where only one team will progress to the next qualifying stage.

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