ZIMBABWE . . . . . . (1) 3
SWAZILAND . . . . . (0) 1
ZIMBABWE’S Young Warriors kept their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals of the Region 5 Games alive when they dispatched Swaziland in an exhilarating Group A match played At Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Thomas Kadyaridzire grabbed a brace and substitute Thembalethu Mthunzi made the match comfortable for the hosts four minutes from time after the visitors had pulled one back after the halftime break.
The win saw Zimbabwe garnering four points in Group A after playing a 1-1 draw with Mozambique at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday, and well on course for a semifinal berth.
The third goal for the Young Warriors was Mthunzi’s second of the tournament after he scored the solitary goal against Mozambique.
Zimbabwe face Angola today and a win will see them qualifying for the semi-finals.
While yesterday’s game gave numerous incidences, but the major talking point arrived on 78th minute when Swaziland’s skipper Ncwala Majahawodwa Dlamini’s strike was saved by Young Warriors goalkeeper Kelvin Shangiwa who appeared to cross the goal line.
A mêlée ensued as some desperate Swazi players rushed to get the ball from the clutches of the goalkeeper, resulting in the two sets of players pushing and shoving inside Zimbabwe’s penalty box.
This forced fourth official from Zambia Allan Simukonda to intervene as he joined match day referee Keren Treddy Yocette from Seychelles to calm the situation.
After a brief stoppage, action resumed, but only after Ncwala and Young Warriors’ Trevor Zidora had been booked for their troubles in the commotion.
Heavy rains also pounded in the second half, but that could not stop the match
After hard work in the centre and combining well with Bukhosi Sibanda, Kadyaridzire was finally rewarded in the 39th minute with a deflected header to give his team a deserved lead.
But soon after the breather, Swaziland’s Wandile Dlamini levelled the score line, capitalizing on a Zimbabwe defensive mix-up to fire past Shangiwa.
But the introduction of Denzel Khumalo and Mthunzi for Chivandire and Lennon Bvochora changed the complexion of the game for Zimbabwe who began to bombard the visitors’ goal area at will.
On 64th minute, Kadyaridzire won possession on the right channel and let off a firm shot which deflected off a defender to beat goalkeeper Lwethu Peaceful Simelane for Zimbabwe’s second goal.
Substitute Mthunzi then assured the Young Warriors of three points four minutes from time, finishing off a good move by Sibanda who had dribbled past two Swazi defenders.
Young Warriors coach Tafadzwa Mashiri had this to say after the game: “We will build on the four points that we have accumulated. Our game plan was to use the counter attack and catch them on the break.”
His counterpart Velekhaya Mthethwa said they will give at their best shot in their next two matches.
Zimbabwe: K Shangiwa, T Muringani, F Rukunda, M Chodeva (J Munzira, 90’), L Muyambo, A Chivandire (D Khumalo, 46’), T Kadyaridzire, L Lunga, B Sibanda, L Bvochora (T Mthunzi , 46’), T Zidoro.
Swaziland: L Simelane, N Dlamini, M Msibi, K Dlamini, M Khumalo, Z Langa, W Dlamini, J Figareido (B Dlamini, 73’), M Dlamini (L Zwane, 60’), M Nyaweni, L Manyatsi (W Vilakati, 63’)