HomeSportWarriors crash out of Afcon

Warriors crash out of Afcon

-

TUNISIA . . . . . . . (4) 4
ZIMBABWE . . . . .(1) 2

Kevin Mapasure in Libreville, Gabon

Zimbabwe’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations campaign went up in smoke in
embarrassing fashion, when they were subjected to a thorough hiding by
Tunisia here last night.

The Warriors went into the match needing a win to stand a chance of
qualifying to the quarter-finals, but they failed dismally in their
attempt, putting up a disjointed show.

Coach Kalisto Pasuwa infamously declared his team the group favourites on
arrival in Gabon, but the Warriors leave the host nation after learning a
lesson in humility and with their tails firmly tucked in between their legs.

Zimbabwe finished bottom of the group after picking up just one point in
their draw against Algeria.

Sliti Naim, Youssef Msakni, Taha Khenissi and Wahbi Khazri scored for
Tunisia, while Knowledge Musona, Tendai Ndoro were on target for Zimbabwe.

The Warriors leave the tournament a laughing stock and will be remembered
more for their strikes over monetary rewards, as well as the late arrival
of their kit.

Nothing more.

They will not be missed after such a colourless showing.

They came here with the aim of improving on previous performances at this
tournament after the 2004 and 2006 classes both failed at the Group stages,
but this lot is the worst statistics wise.

The carnage started as early as the eighth minute after Khazri and Ali
Maaloul combined to set up Naim unattended outside the box for the attacker
to fire home after benefiting from a deflection.

Zimbabwe’s hopes were extinguished on 22 minutes after Msakni played a one
two with Naim, which tore up the Warriors defence for the former to fire
from close range.

It was game over.

The dream had been shattered.
Tunisia were not done.

They wanted it to be emphatic and they kept pouring
forward.
Zimbabwe looked hopeless, clueless at times and spineless for the majority
of the half.

They committed one foul after another, rarely making forward forays.

If one thought the Senegal match was embarrassing, this was worse.

Ten minutes after the second goal, Khazri almost made it three with a free
kick, which Tatenda Mukuruva, in goal for Zimbabwe, watched and tipped over.

Two minutes later, striker Knowledge Musona, making a return to the side
after an injury lay-off, fired warning shots, with a left foot drive that
goalkeeper Rami Keridi fisted out for a corner.
At the other end, Taha Yassine Khenissi stretched Tunisia’s lead with a
side foot finish at the end of a Hamdi Naguez cross after a good run on the
right flank.

Two minutes from half time, Musona resurrected Zimbabwe’s hopes of avoiding
total humiliation, when he beat two defenders to smash past Jeridi.

Tunisia then cruelly cut short any form of celebration, winning and
converting a penalty almost immediately after Zimbabwe’s goal.

Defender Costa Nhamoinesu cluttered into Khenissi from behind and the
referee, Denis Dembele, from Ivory Coast, awarded a penalty at the advice
of second assistant referee, Olivier Kabene.

Khazri took responsibility and slotted home under a diving and despairing
Mukuruva.

Zimbabwe reduced the deficit seven minutes after the restart, when winger
Khama Billiat went on a good run before feeding Musona, who cutely fed
half-time substitute, Tendai Ndoro, who made no mistake to breathe a bit of
life into the
contest.

But Tunisia composed themselves and controlled the game. They could have
stretched the lead through Msakni, had it not been of Mukuruva’s brilliance
on 75 minutes.

Despite a few good moves, Zimbabwe never really troubled the goalkeeper
thereafter.

Musona had a shot that sailed narrowly over the bar, as he showed his class.

Pasuwa blamed a lapse of concentration in the early stages of the match for
the loss.

TEAMS
Tunisia: R Jeridi, S Youssef, A Abdennour, Y Msakni (Saber Khalifa), W
Khazri (Hamzar Lahmar 63), T Khenissi, A Maaloul, F Sassi, M Amour,
HNaguez, S Naim (F Larry 83)
Zimbabwe: T Mukuruva, H zvirekwi, E Muroiwa, C Nhamoinesu, O Bhasera, D
Phiri (T Ndoro 46), W Katsande, M Nakamba, K Billiat, N Mushekwi, K Musona
(Knowledge Musona

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading