Lesotho . .. . . . . . . . . 0
Zimbabwe . . . .. . . . .0
THE Young Warriors got off to a slow start at the COSAFA Under-20 Championships in Zambia yesterday, when they shared the spoils with Lesotho in a Group C tie at Nkana stadium.
Zimbabwe, seeking to make an impact at this year’s competition after an indifferent showing at the tournament in South Africa, struggled with their game and left even those following the live streaming of the encounter on Kwese Sports wondering whether the country has run out of skilful players at the Young Warriors level.
Coach Bekithemba Ndlovu’s charges will now have to have to dig deeper in their remaining group games against Angola and Namibia.
The Young Warriors will next face Angola tomorrow and then complete the group assignments with a date against Namibia on Monday.
Only the group winners and the best runner-up from the three groups will progress to the semi-finals.
But if their tepid performance in yesterday’s match against Lesotho is anything to go by then the Young Warriors will need to be more convincing in their next two assignments.
Both Zimbabwe and Lesotho were struggling to create clear cut chances and resorted to long range efforts.
The Young Warriors failed to utilise a number of set pieces they got as their opponents resorted to hard tackling.
Even football supporters across the world who were following the action which was live streamed by Kwese ESPN on their Facebook page were not amused by the performance of the two teams. Some viewers from Germany and Australia were able to watch the match live and commended the broadcaster for bringing the match to their comforts but many of them were disappointed by the display.
A number of viewers expressed disappointment with the quality of the football exhibited as the two sides were struggling to string more than three passes.
One viewer jokingly said that “the Kwese picture quality was very clear and of good quality, only that what was on display was of poor standard’’
Lesotho were unlucky early on when Raboama Koloti’s shot hit the outside of the post and deflected away behind. John Mohai then forced a fine save from Tinotenda Ali as Lesotho had the better of the first half action.
It was the defences on top in the second period as both teams failed to create clear-cut chances and resorted to shooting from long-range.
In Group B Lyle Foster found the target as South Africa edged Mauritius 2-0 in a tightly contested tie at the Nkana Stadium yesterday.
The Orlando Pirates striker smashed the ball goal-wards on 73 minutes and the ball clattered against the crossbar and down. There was some debate over whether the ball crossed the line, but the goal was awarded. South Africa are level at the head of the pool with North African guest nation Egypt, who beat Mozambique 1-0 on the opening day on Wednesday, though they top the table on goal-difference.
Luvuyo Mkatshana missed a good headed chance early on for the South Africans, who had Mauritius pinned in their own half. Foster hit the woodwork in the second period before scoring his first.
He made the points safe deep into injury-time when he beat the offside trap and as the Mauritians stopped playing, the Pirates youngster blasted the ball into the back of the net. He was also involved in a nasty incident after being punched by Mauritius captain Alex Ferre, but none of the match officials spotted the incident.
In today’s programme there are two Group A as hosts and holders Zambia will seek redemption for their opening day loss to Uganda.
They take on Malawi in their second clash at the Arthur Davies Stadium (kick-off 17h30 local; 15h30 GMT) knowing that a second defeat would put them out of the tournament at the first hurdle. Malawi won their opening match with a fine 3-2 success over Swaziland, with the latter now in action against Uganda at 14h30 local; 12h30 GMT).
Lesotho 0 Zimbabwe 0
South Africa 2 (Foster 73’, 90’) Mauritius 0
11h30 (09h30 GMT): Angola vs Namibia — Arthur Davies Stadium
14h30 (12h30 GMT): Uganda vs Swaziland — Arthur Davies Stadium
17h30 (15h30 GMT): Malawi vs Zambia — Arthur Davies Stadium