IT will take a miracle for the national Under-23 men’s team to overturn the 5-0 embarrassing first leg defeat suffered at the hands of their South African counterparts on Friday in the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, and what is now left for the Young Warriors is probably to play for pride in the second leg tomorrow.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The two sides meet again at Barbourfields Stadium and South Africa will be hoping to wrap up the tie and qualify for the Under -23 Afcon set for Egypt in November.
The Young Warriors arrived in Bulawayo on Saturday night and had their first training session at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Coach Tonderai Ndiraya blamed the demolition on lack of preparations, and with the return leg tomorrow, the gaffer said they won’t have enough time to prepare.
He is hoping for the best.
“It will take some commitment, but of course that comes after preparing. Preparations are what we are mourning about. We didn’t have preparations and we are not going to have enough. Time is very little. So in terms of that aspect, there is nothing much we can do but what is important is to work on the psychological aspect of the game. Are the boys going to recover from that bad result? Are they going to focus on the oncoming game? It’s what we have been doing since we came back,” Ndiraya said.
While Zimbabwe are mourning about the preparations after a last minute phone around to get players in camp for the match, South Africa have been preparing for this match since the start of the year.
This is the same team that represented South Africa at the Cosafa senior Championships in July and also played in the African Nations Championships qualifier against Lesotho last month.
“From what we have seen today (yesterday), it’s promising. The boys promised to work extra hard to try and turn the deficit and really as much as it looks difficult, it can be done. If we really stamp our foot on Tuesday, the result can be turned. If it doesn’t, what we want is to restore the nation’s pride,” an optimistic Ndiraya said.
He said the boys were devastated by the Friday night result.
“We got a bad result in South Africa, a result which we did not expect in terms of the quality we have in camp. I thought we have very good young players; players with a lot of talent but I guess we were not prepared enough. We did not prepare hard enough to go and play a South African side which was well-prepared. We learnt; we are trying the best we can with the little time we have in-between the two games to prepare our boys so that when we play on Tuesday at least we can restore the lost pride,” Ndiraya said.
Some of the big names in the Young Warriors squad include Dynamos’ Emmanuel Jalayi, Highlanders striker Prince Dube who captains the team and Blessing Sarupinda of Caps United. The Spain-based pair of goalkeeper Martin Mapisa and Abubakar Moffat are also in the squad.