Algeria breathe fire

Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE Warriors opponents are not leaving anything to chance as they prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria on Tuesday thrashing Mauritania 6-0 in Bilda.

Zimbabwe emerged with a 1-1 draw against Cameroon in Yaounde on the same day.

Orlando Pirates forward Tendai Ndoro grabbed the only goal for Zimbabwe at Stade Ahmed Ahidjo while the hosts equalised in the first half through a penalty.

Braces from Leicester City forward Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez and a goal each from Yacine Brahimi and El Arbi Hillel Soudani carried the day for the Algerians.

Zimbabwe and the Desert Foxes meet on Sunday in Group B’s first match before Senegal and Tunisia clash later at the same venue.

After watching his charges settle for a draw in Cameroon, Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa says the assessment is still on-going and he wanted to see how their opponents would respond.

The result warmed some Warriors supporters with Zimbabwe and Burnley defender Tendayi Darikwa taking to Twitter to congratulate the team.

“Well done tonight and good luck for AFCON 2017 Zimbabwe,” he tweeted after the draw.

The coach gave a hint of his backline for the weekend’s match when he did not tamper with that department sticking to his regular players.

Pasuwa was probably not happy that returning centre back Elisha Muroiwa conceded a penalty when he heckled an Indomitable Lions player with a crude challenge which was not necessary considering that a number of Warriors were well positioned in cover.

Muroiwa has lacked game time after spending most of the second half of the season on the sidelines as he battled injury.

The Dynamos defender was starting his first game in months after being introduced as a second half substitute in the international against Cote d’Ivoire.

Pasuwa tampered with part of the midfield and his attack where he opted to start with Cuthbert Malajila and Ndoro upfront with Kuda Mahachi behind as well as Evans Rusike while skipper Willard Katsande and Danny Phiri assumed the holding positions.

He later made a number of changes in the second period introducing Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona.

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos believes it was a fair contest.

The Belgium mentor said his team was now ready for the Nations Cup finals.

“We were not always good and it was precisely on one of those moments that the Zimbabweans had their chance and scored,” he told his country’s football governing body’s official website.

“In the final three minutes, we again gave the opposing team the opportunity to score.

“Fortunately it did not happen.

“Other than that, I think the team that was on the pitch played with a real desire to win. In general, it was correct.

“We had good chances to score. If we had managed to score the two or three good chances we had in the second half, we would have won the game.

“Of course, we did not.

“Anyway, I am generally satisfied with the performance of the team because for me the result was not the most important thing in this game, but the way players react on the pitch.

“So I’m satisfied and I can say that the team is ready, the 23 players are ready.”

The coach says he benefited from the friendly matches against Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

They beat the Congolese 2-0.

The former champions will open their campaign on Saturday with a match against the Stallions of Burkina Faso.

“A tournament like the CAN, is not played with 11 players. It’s impossible! All players must be used. This is why we organise friendly matches to try some things,” said Broos.

“This lets you know which players are already on top and those who are not yet quite ready to start the tournament.

“So I could not play the team that will play Saturday in both friendly matches to avoid having tired players. So we rotated in the team and you saw in both matches it was not bad at all.

“For me, that means our team is ready and we have plenty of opportunities for Saturday. Compared to the team that played against Zambia, we have made great progress, there is much more rhythm and much more depth in our game.

“What we will do is try to win our first game because it is very important.”

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  • Significant Watemwa

    I still could not find it. I saw some highlights for a game played last week with a 6-0 headline but the video shows a 3-1 outcome. There were a couple of times when Zvirekwi (thrice) was in his usual good overlapping position with acres of space but Rusike was playing the ball into the crowded area. He also did that to Malajila twice. I just heard Leekens is changing tactics for this game and He will play like the Zimbabweans played against Cameroon. Probably panicking. I am not sure if Zimbabwe will be able to repeat that perfomance in the tournament proper. They played really well.

  • Significant Watemwa

    I am not sure if Zimbabwe will be able to repeat that perfomance in the tournament proper. They played really well.