Senior team suffers shock defeat in Namibia

1607-1-1-MAPANDA AND SONFrom Langton Nyakwenda in WINDHOEK, Namibia
Namibia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

WARRIORS coach Sunday Chidzambwa is confident his charges can overturn the first leg deficit after the COSAFA champions slumped to a shock defeat in the 2018 Africa Nations Championships second round, first leg qualifier at Sam Nujoma Stadium here yesterday.

The Warriors succumbed to a 47th minute goal by home crowd favourite Hendrik Somaeb and will now need to win by two clear goals when the teams meet again in the return leg at the National Sports Stadium this Sunday.

Chidzambwa’s men had been bullish ahead of yesterday’s game and the result, coming just seven days after the Warriors convincingly beat Zambia 3-1 to lift a record fifth COSAFA Castle Cup title left many fans stunned.

Although Zimbabwe started brightly and could have scored two or more goals in the first 45 minutes, Chidzambwa’s men somehow could not handle Namibia’s pace in the second stanza.

The hosts scored two minutes from the restart when the skilful Somaeb turned his marker Jimmy Tigere and riffled the ball into the top corner, beating debutant Zimbabwe goalkeeper Herbert Rusawo, who was given the nod ahead of Takabva Mawaya, all systems out.

Zimbabwe exerted pressure in search of an equaliser with Abbas Amidu, substitutes Denver Mukamba and Prince Dube all coming close but the Brave Warriors hung on for a remarkable victory over a side that has qualified for every edition of the CHAN tournament.

The Warriors were however, a much changed outfit from the one that did duty at the COSAFA Castle Cup in South Africa with skipper Ocean Mushure, defender Jimmy Tigere, midfielders Liberty Chakoroma and Raphael Manuvire and winger Talent Chawapiwa, the only starters from the regional champions.

Chidzambwa noted that the Brave Warriors had given them a tough outing in Windhoek. “It was a difficult match for us. We didn’t score from the chances we created. The home team deserved to win because they fought more than us,” said Chidzambwa.

Although the Warriors had what looked like a genuine goal disallowed for offside by Malawian referee Dennis Nguluwe, Chidzambwa chose to focus on the return leg.

Nguluwe was the centre of attraction when he ruled that big ZPC Kariba forward Francesco Zekumbawire was offside when he slotted home in the 38th minute.

“We had chances and I am sure if we work on converting, we will do better next week,” said Chidzambwa. Indeed, the first half belonged to Zimbabwe. Amidu’s blistering shot was punched away by Namibia goalkeeper Loydt Kazapua after 11 minutes before the marauding Chawapiwa volleyed straight at the keeper four minutes later.

CAPS United hitman Amidu was back again in the 25th minute but he shot weakly at the keeper. Namibia’s only serious chance of the first half came in the 39th minute but Roger Katjiteo, one of their stand out players at the COSAFA Castle Cup in which they lost to South Africa in the Plate Final, missed a free header.

But just two minutes after the break, the Brave Warriors got it right and they surged ahead, thanks to a wonder strike by Somaeb. “Actually I was praying that Zimbabwe don’t equalise because that could have spoiled a brilliant moment,” said Namibia coach Ricardo Manneti.

The victory was a relief for the Namibians who have seen few football action in the last year. There is no professional league running following the pull out by PSL sponsor MTC last September.

“It’s good to win but we remain underdogs going into the second leg,” Manneti said. Zimbabwe have never failed to make the CHAN finals since the inception of the tournament in 2009 and they remain favourites.

But their complacency against so called weaker teams could prove to be their biggest undoing. Yesterday’s defeat has also heaped some pressure on the Warriors to deliver on the home front and it will be the first time since they needed eight years of waiting to win the COSAFA Cup that the Chidzambwa’s men will be playing before their home crowd.

It also emerged that some key players such as gritty midfielder Gerald Takwara had failed to feature in yesterday’s match due to a severe bout of flu.

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  • significant watemwa

    Yes true. But even Prof Stephen Hawkins would have seen from whatever planet he wishes to take us to that the final third is blunt. Besides mental fatigue, do not sacrifice the best for favorites. The team lacked one thing regular scorers, or people in the habit of scoring. People who score ten goals after games do just that. They create a million chances and then score ten goals after five games. Two games back to back may not be adequate. Its a good team, but not good for scoring because 90 percent of the front pack do not score often at their respective clubs, except for Mukamba and Dube. They are all good players, but you need roving playmakers like tafadzwa rusike and mukamba and chawapiwa together with others like Takwara and Chakoroma assisting. In Dube you have the best striker in the country, and with these players probably with the addition of Lot Chiwunga, will render the youngster unplayable. Dube is also a playmaker, that is why you see when he combines with such seasoned players like Kutsanzira, his level of excitement increases and is unplayable. Despite not having a running league Namibia is a very good team compared to all that we faced at Cosafa. Besides, the Brave Warriors know how to beat the simple Warriors, because they have tasted blood so many times. Now my advice to you coaches is to create elevated potency and regularised versatility. That is why the additions of Pfumbidzayi and Chiwunga would have made sense, and playing with Mushure on the left will create total havoc for enemies, because we are already fully blessed on the right, with Mukamba, Chawapiwa, (Rusike), Manuvire, Mandiranga, and the assist of Takwara and Chakoroma all able to play on the right. Teguru can also do damage on the left combined with an in form Pfumbidzayi who probably has more goals at CAF than what your current strikers have in league. You have a better chance of scoring with both pfumbidzayi and Mushure on the attack or alternating than your other choices. But as we speak we are lopsided and unbalanced even without the roving madness of Rusike or with the dribbling wizadry of Teguru. I can say this plane is unbalanced and can spell disaster. (With) Mandiranga (on the left) is a regular scorer and assister, and Mukamba are regular, with Dube in front and chawapiwa assisting just maybe that potency can be created with the current players as we search for goals. Namibia will be difficult to break with a 5-4-1 or 4-5-1. All their strikers are good midfielders and are more effective with one target man. You do not need new people it may be too late, but increase versatility and sharpness upfront. Anyway, we are grateful nekuti takanyaradzwa nematakadyakare eCosafa, zveChan tozozviona 2020 kana zvisina kuita. Besides admin should do its job and keep to their promises, kwete kukonzera kuti titaure.

  • eliah

    Never ob Sunday what went wrong? you know memories of good times are very very short in footrball, so you better reverse this defeat very fast in the replay fixture in order to redeem your battered image.

  • KING

    why make changes to a winning team

  • yowe

    Atanga maworryus

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    This Sunday,coach Sunday, my ensure our team wins.

  • chubchecker

    murenga unotaura zvausingazive