Deco keeps cool head

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Danny Phiri

WARRIORS skipper Danny “Deco” Phiri says his troops will keep cool heads ahead of their group match against Seychelles this evening that will all, but seal their place in the Cosafa regional football tournament quarter-finals after storming to an opening win against Mauritius on Sunday in Group A.

BY WELLINGTON TONI

Zimbabwe beat Mauritius 2-0 through goals from Carlos Rusere in the 28th minute and Ronald Chitiyo in the 66th minute to top the standings with three points after Namibia and Seychelles had played a goalless draw earlier on.

And should Zimbabwe proceed as group winners, defending champions and their conquerors in 2013, Zambia lie in wait in the quarter-finals.

Zambia beat Zimbabwe 2-0 in the 2013 final at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

But the experienced Chicken Inn midfielder says each game is different.

“We are level-headed. We know every game is difficult. We had a good start (against Mauritius) and never could it have gone better than that. The support from the fans was great and we felt like we were playing in Zimbabwe,” Phiri told NewsDay Sport from Moruleng yesterday afternoon.

The Warriors had a recovery session in the pool yesterday morning and were given time off later with only a light loosening-up session scheduled for this morning.

Zimbabwe missed a glut of chances in the match, and every time they fashioned a move, Mauritius goalkeeper Kelvin Jean-Louis was at his best to deny them.

Phiri could have scored in the 16th minute, but was denied by the keeper, while Raphael Manuvire shot wide four minutes later before Rusere opened the scoring, finishing off a long cross from the right from Hardlife Zvirekwi.

Manuvire was to later miss another chance from a free-kick in the 37th minute before Chitiyo was denied at the breather.

But Phiri said coach Saul Chaminuka told them to keep their composure in front of goal.

“He kept telling us to keep attacking and to have composure in front of goal and everything would come right,” Phiri said.

It eventually fell into place when Chitiyo’s deflected shot hit the nets and they were almost 3-0 up at the death, but the ball was cleared after it had crossed the line with the referee and his assistant missing that bit of action.

Chaminuka, standing in for head coach Kalisto Pasuwa who remained behind to handle this Sunday’s Under-23 Championship qualifier against Swaziland, is likely to name an unchanged squad to face the Islanders.

SuperSport United goalkeeper George Chigova desperately needs some game time after spending almost the entire season on the bench at the South African Premiership side and will be one of the two foreign-based players alongside his former Dynamos teammate Patson Jaure.

Jaure is a regular at Pretoria University or AmaTuks, as they are popularly known. Thomas Magorimbo, Zvirekwi, the Hwange pair of Pritchard Mpelele and Evans Rusike, Manuvire, Rusere, Chitiyo and Raphael Kawondera are likely to make the final 11.

Meanwhile, Lantonirina Augustin Rabehasinmbola netted the winner as Madagascar beat Lesotho 2-1 in their Cosafa Cup, Group B opener at the Olympia Stadium yesterday.

Fixtures

Today: Seychelles vs Zimbabwe (1700hrs), Namibia vs Mauritius (1930hrs)
Tomorrow: Madagascar vs Tanzania (1700hrs), Lesotho vs Swaziland (1930hrs)

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