Chidzambwa’s charges who had a flying start to the tournament after hammering Mauritius 3-0 in their opening match at Rufaro on Saturday, wilted under the weight of expectations to allow the Crocodiles of Lesotho to come back from behind on two occasions for the two teams to eventually share the spoils and break the hearts of millions of Zimbabwean fans.
The result means Zimbabwe will now no longer have the destiny of their group in their hands.
And, Chidzambwa was not amused by the Warriors performance. “We were too ordinary and conceded two silly goals,” said Chidzambwa. ” That cost us the match. We now need divine intervention to remain in the tournament. We created a lot of chances but could not convert them,” Zimbabwe will now have to wait for Mauritius to do them a favour by beating Lesotho on Wednesday for them to advance to the last eight of the tournament.
Although Lesotho need to beat Mauritius 4-0 to pip the Warriors to the sole ticket to the last eight of the tournament, they showed the character to achieve this as they produced a fabulous display against their more illustrious opponents. Should Lesotho beat Mauritius 3-0 the two teams will end up with the same points and same goal difference. In that case a coin will have to be tossed to determine the winner according to the tournament rules.
The Warriors were the first to get out of the blocks with Malajila scoring in the sixth minute after he was set up by striking partner Evans Gwekwerere. But, the Crocodiles equalised 17 minutes into the second half through a penalty converted byThabiso Maile after he was brought down in the box by captain Method Mwanjali. But Gwekwerere added the second for the Warriors with the simplest of finishes after he was set up by Mwalajila.
As the Warriors took control of the match, goalkeeper Washington Arubi made a horrendous blunder, moving from his goal line to launch a visious tackle on Museso Sello and Botswana referee Israel Ramocha pointed to the spot. And, Maile stepped up again to level the score line and sent the whole stadium into eerie silence.
Zimbabwe will now have to wait for the match between Lesotho and Mauritius to know if they still have interest in the tournament. In 2003, the Warriors also needed a helping hand from Gabon to qualify for their maiden African Cup of Nations in Tunisia the following year. Chidzambwa was at the helm and his side blew numerous scoring chances against Eritrea at the National Sports Stadium and their victory margin was not good enough to seal their qualification. But with Gabon beating Sierra Leone 2-0 in Libreville, it meant the Warriors went through as one of the best second-placed nation.
Should hosts Zimbabwe be eliminated from the tournament, it is likely to lose its glamour as some fans are likey to stay away from the remaining matches.Post published in: Football