The Warriors’ poor run of form is showing no signs of abating after they were outplayed by Botswana in a friendly match, christened the President’s Cup, at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA
Zimbabwe . . . . . . 0
Botswana . . . . (1) 1
The match, which concluded the Independence Day’s festivities at the giant stadium, was watched by a capacity crowd, with many expressing their disappointment with the manner their team performed.
Some even vented their anger by throwing missiles onto the field of play at the final whistle.
Lively Botswana winger Kebaikanye Kobamelo, scored the only goal of the match midway through the first half, a result that meant Zimbabwe are winless since lifting the Cosafa Cup in July last year.
Since then, they have performed horribly, falling to some of the continent’s lightweights.
The Warriors were bundled out of the Chan Championships qualifiers over two legs by Namibia, and also lost 3-1 to the same team in a friendly match.
They also lost to little Lesotho in another friendly match. They followed that up with more defeats against Zambia and Angola in an invitational tournament hosted by Zambia early this year.
Although Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambga said he was not worried by the team’s recent run of poor results, but looking at the way his team played yesterday, he has every reason to be concerned.
He might argue that this was a hastily assembled side after a last minute call from Zifa, but Botswana, according to their coach David Bright, also travelled to Harare without having conducted a single training session.
The veteran coach, however, admitted that the team’s performance yesterday was not up to scratch, bemoaning a lack of a creative midfielder “in the mould of Ronald Sibanda and Lloyd Mutasa.”
He said Zimbabwe should urgently find a player of such qualities if they are to do well in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which resume in September with a clash against Congo.
Chidzambga singled out goalkeeper Bernard Donovan, Leeroy Mavhunga and Richard Hachiro, a Herentals midfielder who was introduced late in the match, as the only players that performed to expected levels.
So bad was the hosts’ performance yesterday that they didn’t have a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes as they just hooped the ball in front hoping for a miracle goal.
Botswana on the other hand, could have easily been two goals up going into the break, only to be saved by goalkeeper Benard Donovan who stretched to keep Alphonse Modisaotsile’s shot out, as the visitors looked to double their advantage.
The home players were booed out of the stadium at halftime, with some missiles thrown their way, as the fans expressed their frustration.
In what was yet another bad advertisement for local soccer, the fans also pelted the away side as they made their way back to the dressing room at the interval, forcing their visitors to conduct their halftime pep talk on the field of play.
Donovan kept the scoreline respectable for the Warriors with two super saves in the second half, tipping over a shot from Thatayaone Kgamanyane early in the second half before stealing the ball from the feet of substitute Onkabetse Makghantai who had tried to go around the Ngezi keeper following a quick break late in the match.
The home team only came to life in the final 15 minutes, thanks to Liberty Chakoroma’s shot from a crowded box, that Botswana keeper Phoko Goitseone comfortably saved on 83rd minute. That was his first and only meaningful save of the day.
Zimbabwe: B Donovan, P Muduwa, S Makatuka( K Moyo, 66’), J Dzingai ( P Tonha, 47’), E Madhanhanga, W Mhango(R Hachiro, 47’), L Chakoroma, L Mavhunga, R Manuvire (I Nyoni, 58’), T Dzvukamanja, C Augusto