WHILE the Warriors can still sneak into the quarterfinals of the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals after Burkina Faso forced a draw against Morocco on Thursday, Zimbabwe’s major worries remain in creativity and finishing.
BY SPORTS EDITOR
The Warriors drew 0-0 against both Morocco last Sunday and Uganda on Thursday to leave them in third place on the Group B standings and needing an outright win over Burkina Faso on Monday to reach the last eight.
With 20 minutes into the match against Uganda, Zimbabwe could have gone ahead, but Ali Sadiki directed a Milton Ncube cross wide before Simba Sithole forced a save from Benjamin Ochan to the near box.
Kuda Mahachi’s mishit kissed the bar later in the second half and the ball fell to substitute Nelson Maziwisa whose shot was saved.
Sithole then made a mess of another Mahachi cross from the left before Charles Sibanda was also found wanting with an off target header, again from the Bantu Rovers’ man.
That all but summed up Zimbabwe’s poor show in front of goal and now we have Burkina Faso to thank for keeping us in the competition after their late show against Morocco.
But we have problems, honestly and can actually do better and reach the last eight.
Donald Ngoma might have to warm the bench at FC Platinum this season if his performances are anything to go by. Ngoma managed six goals in the 2013 episode and Simba Sithole, the less said the better. He is not supposed to be in the team, at least for now because he still lacks the sharpness that he exhibited in his early days at Caps United.
He has been to Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport and failed to impress and has had to return to Dynamos to try and resurrect his career. Playing at Rufaro Stadium is different from playing in a continental competition.
Charles Sibanda — He should start ahead of Ali Sadiki, as he was key in FC Platinum’s charge towards a fourth place finish last season, but has had to start from the bench, robbing Zimbabwe of further attacking prowess behind the strikers.
Peter Moyo — Did we need Tawanda Muparati in that match against Uganda? Not at all. We needed more creativity going upfront as the Cranes were waiting for the Zimbabwe attacks.
Danny “Deco” Phiri is as effective as ever in the holding role in front of a very solid Eric Chipeta and Patson Jaure-led defence, and we needed a player to subtract the Cranes defenders.
Muparati did not have that ability in that match.
It might be too much of a gamble, but when you play a team like Uganda that says come to us, there is no need to keep Hardlife Zvirekwi and Milton Ncube glued to their positions.
The missing man
Steven Sibanda — FC Platinum
The big and sure footed striker scored 12 goals last season for Buffaloes before he was snapped by high-spending FC Platinum early this month.
He was just six goals behind the golden boot winner Tendai Ndoro (18), who has now signed for Mpumalanga Black Aces in the South African Premiership.
Kuda Mahachi has been fighting a lone battle in the last two matches, delivering crosses from both wings, but the finishing has been pathetic to say the least.
Against Morocco, Ngoma missed twice, Sithole hit the post and Ali Sadiki simply returned the rebound to where the Atlas Lions goalkeeper was.
Against Uganda, Sithole and Sibanda missed clear-cut chances that could have simple sealed Zimbabwe’s victory.
Gorowa’s goals — In the eight matches that the former Mamelodi Sundowns coach has been in charge of the Warriors — he has managed 11 and he conceded just one in the 2-1 victory over Mozambique at Barbourfields.
Chan qualifiers (preliminary) vs Mauritius 3-0, 1-1
Chan qualifiers (final qualifiers) Zambia 0-0, 1-1
Friendly-vs Mozambique 2-1
Friendly-vs Gabon 2-0
But the other question that begs an answer from Zimbabwe coaches and scouts is: Do we have real strikers in the current league?
Against Burkina Faso on Monday, Gorowa must throw all caution to the wind and field this starting eleven: George Chigova, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Milton Ncube, Patson Jaure, Eric Chipeta, Danny Phiri, Masimba Mambare, Peter Moyo, Kuda Mahachi, Charles Sibanda, Simba Sithole (How Mine)