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Poor Zim worry us

THE Zimbabwe national football team, the Warriors, continued with its poor run in the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers after being mauled by South Africa at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein last night.

SOUTH AFRICA. . . . . . . . . . . . .  (1) 3

ZIMBABWE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1

THE Zimbabwe national football team, the Warriors, continued with its poor run in the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers after being mauled by South Africa at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein last night.

Going into the match, the Warriors promised a big fight for their first set of three points, but two defensive lapses undid all the hard work

Thapelo Morena scored a second half brace to condemn the Warriors to their second successive defeat as they maintained their spot at the basement of the Group C table.

Before that, Iqraam Rayners and Tawanda Chirewa had scored for their teams within seconds of each other and within a couple of minutes of the start of the match.

Warriors coach Jairos Tapera had made some bold moves, benching Italian Serie A player Jordan Zemura and French Ligue 1 player Tino Kadewere.

He took out Donovan Bernard and replaced him with a novice Godfrey Chitsumba, but that proved a fatal decision as the Manica Diamonds number one proved a bundle of nerves and was liable for the second goal.

For a while, it seemed he had made the right decisions with the changes he made, yet following the defeat, he will have a lot of questions to answer.

Tapera’s contract with Zifa expired soon after the referee blew his final whistle last night.

And his hopes of a return on any basis whether temporary or permanent took a huge knock last night, moreso over the result rather than the team’s performance.

Football is that cruel, it could be over for him and for good.

“I’m much disappointed again. Last week, we lost with almost the same mistakes that we did today. We conceded from silly mistakes. We equalised and we thought we did well to stabilise everything up to the first half,” Tapera said.

“With the way we had controlled everything in the first half, I was confident that we could get something in the second half. Yet we made some mistakes for the second and third goals.

“But that is how football is. If you are not organised enough in terms of the movement at the back, the opposition will always take advantage. Individually, we had some positives in many areas. Going forward, I think we can be able to correct some of these things.”

The match got off to a frantic start, with two goals apiece coming in the first two minutes.

South Africa profited from a mistake by Munashe Garan’anga, for Rayners to slot the ball past Chitsumba.

But the Warriors regrouped and a piece of individual brilliance from Wolves forward Tawanda Charewa hauled them back within seconds.

Charewa took a throw in which was controlled by Marshall Munetsi, who fed him back for the 20-year-old to toe poke home and spark jubilation among the Warriors fans.

The two teams continued to go at each other, with a few chances at both ends.

Charewa fashioned what was another glorious chance, again through his own brilliance, but his shot after a sharp turn narrowly missed the target

In the end, he was the most impressive player in white colours.

Questions will be asked why Tapera chose not to make changes when the Warriors had fallen behind on the second period.

But crucially, the Warriors fell five points off the pace and it’s only them and Nigeria who are winless in this pool.

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos was elated with the result.

“I’m very happy with the result. We led too soon and when it became 1-1, immediately my boys were shaken a little bit. We didn’t do what we had to do. We played too much in the centre. We didn’t use the wings and Zimbabwe was a few times very dangerous on transition,” he said.

“In the second half, we corrected some things and we saw a much better South Africa. We had many chances even in the first half, so after the 90 minutes, we deserved this victory, an important victory for us.”

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