BY KEVIN MAPASURE IN LUSAKA, ZAMBIA
Warriors coach Joey Antipas says Zimbabwe’s historic win over Zambia in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group H qualifier at the Heroes Stadium on Tuesday evening was hinged on the team taking the correct attitude into the match.
Antipas opined that Zimbabwe failed to beat Botswana at home on Friday because they went into the match underestimating their opponents.
The Warriors drew 1-all with Botswana before they bounced back with a 2-1 win over Zambia to become the first side to defeat Chipolopolo at the Heroes Stadium.
“Botswana are by no means better than Zambia,” he said. “I think against Botswana, we went into the match with the wrong attitude. We went into the match thinking that we had already won the match before we played and it was our undoing. But against Zambia we had the right attitude, we knew that it would be an uphill task to even get anything here and we told the players that everyone had to give their all.”
Zimbabwe took an early lead through Khama Billiat’s header before Zambia responded through Austria-based Hitman Partson Daka on 20 minutes as the two teams traded blows in a frenetic first half that kept the fans at the edges of their seats.
Both teams squandered several opportunities in that period with Zimbabwe fluffing a number of clear-cut chances.
Both Billiat and captain Knowledge Musona (pictured), who struggled against Botswana, were in good shape on Tuesday.
It was no surprise when they combined to give Zimbabwe the second goal which was the match winner 12 minutes from time.
Musona, who received so much criticism after the Botswana match, showed his pedigree when he outfoxed two defenders before picking out Billiat for a simple tap in.
Antipas observed that Zimbabwe were much quicker against Zambia than they did against Botswana.
“Against Botswana, we were quite slow in our play, but against Zambia, we were very quick and we played well on the counter. After a frenetic first half, we changed tactics in the second half to sit back and play on the counter. It worked well for us because we have skilful and fast players upfront.”
Zimbabwe moved into second place on the table with the win with four points and two behind leaders Algeria who have a perfect record so far. Botswana are second with a point while Zambia are bottom with zero points.
The Warriors’ next two matches in this campaign are back-to-back clashes against champions Algeria in August next year.