Young Warriors assistant coach George Madira believes they can still turn the tables on Angola’s Young Antelopes in the return leg of the Under-20 African Youth Championships football qualifier after going down 1-0 in the first leg at home on Sunday.
Madira said they were hoping to have their influential centre-back Vincent Mbira back into the team ahead of the return leg in two weeks’ time.
Mbira, who stars for Division One side Power Masters, was serving a one-match suspension after picking up two yellow cards in the two matches against Botswana.
“Vincent is one of our best defenders and he was sorely missed,” said Madira. “We hope to have him back into the team for the return leg.
“Our defence lacked discipline and that young man Domingos exposed our backline and we need to deal with him in the next match.
“Overall our performance was not bad. We had good chances but were just unlucky. We saw how Angola play and we now need to go there with a positive attitude. We still believe we can turn the tables. It’s not over yet.”
Madira added that forward Walter Musona would get a starting place in the team in the return leg after he put on a good show after coming on as a second half substitute – his first match for the Under-20 side.
“It was his first match for the Under-20 team and I think he played well after coming on as a second half substitute,” said Madira.
The Young Warriors were defeated 1-0 by Angola courtesy of a 65th minute goal by the impressive Mateus Domingos. They now have to roll up their sleeves ahead of the return leg if they are to progress to the next round of the qualifiers.
But it clear that the Young Warriors have a huge mountain to climb if they want to progress and clearly shows that junior football is lagging behind in terms of development. Teams are only assembled when there are matches pending; they have no international friendly matches and are underfunded.
The corporate sector has not been supportive in junior football development as all concentration is on the senior national team, the Warriors.