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

    Happy new year to you too Grace, and other returns. Yes I also watched the game between Cameroun and Zimbabwe and Pasuwa has a big job ahead of him before Sunday. I was not amused by the lack of coordination between defence and midfield. And very displeased by all the players in the full back positions. There is a lot of ball watching in the whole team especially by the first eleven. Of cause they are probably worried about injuries and could become tighter when the tournament starts. The full backs where zvirekwi and other were playing were undoing the whole defence which also looked too thin which meant the whole central defence was spread. While Katsande and Danny and Evans had a good game, I would like to see tighter marking in midfield when they and the strikers lose position. The same with malajila, Ndoro and Mahachi who were doing more walking upfront and not chasing the ball when they were not in possession or when they lost the ball. Though things changed when Billiat, Mushekwi and Musona came in who had fresher legs, they ran around marking to no avail because that coordination with midfielders when marking was not there. I was surprised by the cameroonians running with the ball the length of the pitch without anyone chasing. This will become a big problem with the more accurate passing and merciless algerians or ivorians if they come across them. On that note I would like to ask where you got that scoreline of 6-0 against the mauritinians, yet they only won 3-1. The mauritanians were the first to score through a penalty and algeria scored 3 goals in the second half after much struggling. Probably watched a different match that was in Blida at the same time. The algerians are beatable and very much so. I predict a 5-0 scoreline zimbabwe win against the algerians. Besides all the above the guys Ndoro, Mahachi, Evans, Danny, katsande played quite well. malajila did well setting up the goal but was a little subdued, he was not getting as many through balls as he would like.I would like to see him start together with Billiat, Ndoro, mahachi and Evans in the next game. Defence was suspect though Costa may need redeployment to fullback, to allow for Katsande, Muroiwa, Hadebe and Phiri in central defense and a reorientation of Machapa on his defensive responsibilities on the right. Otherwise a full defensive complimentary bouquet of defensive midfielders and defenders then Billiat and Musona and Ndoro and Mahachi as starters, saving Mushekwi, Malajila and Evans for later. And also change the team for the second game.

    • Widzo

      Yes its true Algeria beat Mauritania 6-0. Good analysis Significant!

  • Mungandidii

    If there is any weakness in this team, it is the partner to Costa, all the available players have not been convincing. Maybe its time to try Teenage Hadebe