CAPE TOWN — Zimbabwe coach Ian Gorowa says that he is thrilled for his Zimbabwe team who made history by reaching the Chan 2014 quarterfinals.
The Warriors beat Burkina Faso 1-0 and advanced to the quarterfinals along with Morocco — who beat Uganda — from Group B.
Masimba Mambare scored the all-important goal, a brave near post header which sent the thousands of Zimbabwe fans at Athlone Stadium into frenzy.
“We have been playing well and scoring goals. I think we can still do better. But I was happy with our performance in the first two games — we just could not score,” reflects Gorowa.
“History has been made because Zimbabwe has never made it to the quarterfinals of any tournament. But we can improve and I am very proud of my boys.”
“The supporters have been amazing, I must be honest. They have supported us through and through, right from the start of the event, and I think the fans give our players an edge. I think this win at Athlone Stadium (against Burkina Faso) we will dedicate to our fans.”
Zimbabwe face Mali on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
Peter Moyo was named man of the match in Zimbabwe’s 1-0 win over Burkina Faso at Athlone Stadium on Monday evening.
The midfielder was pivotal as the Warriors booked their place in the last eight of the competition. Moyo was strong in the tackle, winning the loose ball with distinction while also posing a constant threat on attack.
He played a role in Mambare’s winner while also setting up his teammates on a couple of occasions, his vision will be vital if the Warriors were to get past Mali and subsequently reach the last four.
Gorowa, who has constantly told his players that success at Chan 2014 is the bigger picture, says an Absa Premier Soccer League contract is not the target.
“I have said it before that good performances here at Chan 2014 can open a ticket to the PSL for our players or any players in the tournament,” said Gorowa.
“But the picture is much bigger than that — it is all about doing well in the tournament. I said to the boys that a transfer or something for their own benefit will come if the team does well and is successful in the tournament.
“We have qualified the hard way; we waited right till the end of our group. But overall we defended very well and have not conceded a goal so I am very happy with that.”
Some of the players that have stood out in this Zimbabwe team and who have attracted the interest of people within South Africa’s PSL circles are goalkeeper George Chigova as well as midfielders Kuda Mahachi and Mambare.
“I think our goalkeeper, George Chigova, who has attracted a lot of attention is still young and can improve,” Gorowa offers.
“Look, I’m happy that we have such a player in the team. But I must mention everybody. The total commitment of everybody must be commended.”
The ball was fed out to Josemar on the right of the penalty-box and he was left unmarked to blast the ball home.
But that advantage lasted just three minutes into the second half as Mali got the equaliser.
Sidibe was released into the box by Abdoulaye Sissoko and he skipped past two defenders before firing low past Soarito in the Mozambique goal.
As the seconds ebbed away, Traore was clattered in the box as he looked to latch onto a cross in the box and converted the penalty he had won to hand his side victory.