HomeSportPasuwa oozes with confidence after Algeria draw

Pasuwa oozes with confidence after Algeria draw

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Warriors coach, Kalisto Pasuwa has said that the point gained from their opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group B football match against Algeria on Sunday will boost their confidence going into their last two assignments of the pool.

BY Kevin Mapasure in Franceville, Gabon

Warriors midfielder, Danny Phiri clears the ball under the challenge from Riyad Mahrez
Warriors midfielder, Danny Phiri clears the ball under the challenge from Riyad Mahrez

In his post-match comments, Pasuwa reminded reporters – who expressed surprise at the way Zimbabwe had played – of that.

“Getting a point was good in the sense that we were the underdogs going into this match. Nobody gave us a chance,” he said.

“But I was asked in the pre-match Press conference, which team I thought were the favourites and I told you that for me it was Zimbabwe and you all laughed. So now you see that there is not small team at this tournament. This result will motivate the boys to do even better in the other two games.”

Zimbabwe played out a 2-all draw against Algeria in a match they led until nine minutes from the end, where they allowed their opponents back with two costly mistakes at both ends.

Riyad Mahrez scored a goal in either half for Algeria, while Kuda Mahachi and Nyasha Mushekwi were on the scoresheet for Zimbabwe.

While Pasuwa was disappointed they didn’t go all the way to collect the full marks, he was pleased to see his team pick up a point from a match nobody gave them a chance.

Zimbabwe clash against one of the tournament favourites, Senegal – who are top of Group B, after their convincing 2-0 win over Tunisia – on Thursday. The Warriors round off their group matches with a game against Tunisia on Monday.

Pasuwa, who has already made history by becoming the first Zimbabwean coach to avoid defeat in the team’s opening match at the Afcon finals, is aiming to break more records for the team.

He is targeting a place in the quarter-finals.

The former Warriors midfielder, who has shifted focus to the Senegal game, said his team were their own enemies in allowing Algeria a share of the spoils by sitting deep in the second half.

He said the defensive formation that his team employed was not something he had asked of his players.

Pasuwa said his team had learnt their lessons from the Algeria match.

“Our main weakness was that we sat too deep and defended all day in the second half. We were catching them on the break most of the time and missed chances and at this stage, you have to be perfect in front of goal. You saw we missed a number of chances and they went and equalised, so it’s another level of football. It’s a lesson learnt for us. We have to do better at both ends of the game. Our defenders were back-pedalling, when we conceded that goal.”

But despite the disappointment of not taking three points, Pasuwa believes the performance and the point from the Algeria match could have kick-started their campaign.

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