Young Warriors’ Afcon dream dead, buried

Tonderai Ndiraya




South Africa through 5-0 on goal aggregate

THE writing was already on the wall when the Young Warriors embarrassingly crashed to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of South Africa last Friday in the third round first leg of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) at Orlando Stadium.

They played a goalless draw with South Africa at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday in the second leg and miss out on the Under-23 Afcon finals set for November
in Egypt and a chance to participate in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

In a match they set out to launch an attack of intensity in their unlikely bid to save the tie, they drew blanks and failed to cause their guests any anxiety.

Coach Tonderai Ndiraya, who always shoots from the hip, yesterday was his honest self in his assessment of the defeat.

“I think the match was won in South Africa. Coming here, we tried the best we could, but the match was won in South Africa. It all points to the issue of
preparations. We did not prepare well. We are a team which just assembled and travelled to South Africa and you don’t do that when you are playing a good side
like South Africa. You need to prepare thoroughly. Our preparations started a day before we travelled to South Africa and you can’t do that if you really want
to win matches and it was always going to be difficult for us to beat a team which has been together for quite some time,” Ndiraya said.

His South African counterpart David Notoane said they only came to Zimbabwe to manage the match and avoid being complacent.

“Today was a very good game; tough game away from home. It presented different challenges for us. Zimbabwe put us under pressure which we expected. We were
always going to come here and try to manage the game; of course coming to the second leg tie with a 5-0 advantage. For us, it was more important to manage the
game, drag the game as long as possible and when the opportunity come, you take your chances. We are happy to go through to the next round,” Notoane said.

Zimbabwe had most of the chances with Juan Mutudza and Wilfred Muvirimi being denied by the South African goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto in the first half, while
substitutes Obriel Chirinda and Anelka Chivandire had their chances in the second half, but could not convert.

Zimbabwe defended well with Shadreck Nyahwa and Andrew Mbeba in the centre with the visitors not posing any threat at all.


Zimbabwe: N Chadya, E Jalai, R Matova, A Mbeba, S Nyahwa, A Moffat (T Tumba 87), L Mavunga (A Chivandire 70), J Mutudza, W Muvirimi (O Chirinda 53), M Mlilo, P

South Africa: M Mpoto, K Seriba (R Frosler 79), B Sam, T Malepa, S Ngezana, A Dlala, T Mokoena, K Leshabela (K Mahlatsi 58), L Singh, G Links, J Dickens (J
Webber 69)