Warriors remain confident

WARRIORS captain Ocean Mushure is convinced the team can turn the tables when they clash with Namibia on Sunday in the African Nations Championship Southern zone second round second leg qualifier following their disappointing show in Windhoek, where they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the weekend.

BY HENRY MHARA

Ocean Mushure

Ocean Mushure

Mushure, however, warned that they can only get success if they can improve on their performance in the first leg.

Hendrik Somaeb scored the only goal to give the Brave Warriors a slight advantage going into the decisive second leg at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

To qualify to the final round, where there is the prospect of playing either Lesotho or Comoros, Zimbabwe need to win by at least two clear goals.

Mushure said they had none but themselves to blame for the defeat, saying they were punished for failing to convert the chances they got.

“We failed to convert the numerous chances that we created. We should have won the match. That is one area we need to improve, to score goals when we get the chances,” he said.

The Warriors created better chances in the match, with Francesco Zekumbawira’s effort ruled out for a foul in the first half, while Talent Chawapiwa, Abbas Amidu and substitutes Denver Mukamba and Prince Dube all went close.

Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa was forced to make some changes to his starting 11 just before the match after a bout of flu hit his camp, ruling midfielder Gerald Takwara out of the match.

And it was also a much-changed team from the one that won the Cosafa Castle Cup tournament last week, with Mushure, Chawapiwa, Jimmy Tigere, Liberty Chakoroma and Raphael Manuvire, the only survivors — factors that the skipper believes also contributed to the result.

“There were some changes in the team that won the Cosafa and that obviously had an effect. We struggled for rhythm because people were not used to the combinations. But that is something we can easily work on,” Mushure said.

“If we can improve on very little things, we can easily beat Namibia. We have a very good chance and I’m very confident that we will not only go through to the second round, but we will also qualify to the finals.”

Namibia captain Ronald Ketjijere admitted that his side were lucky to get a result.

“We played against giants and after a very tough first half, we had to keep the ball down and play on their ground and, in the end, we got the goal and now the second half will be a different game and we remain committed. Our goalkeeper really kept us in the game,” he told the Namibian Football Association website.

His coach, Ricardo Mannetti, said: “I can’t be greedy and ask for more. This victory was long overdue. I prayed and hoped that Zimbabwe don’t spoil the brilliant goal and the memorable occasion for all of us.

“We played well and got the result, we now have to prepare for the second leg and again we remain underdogs and have to play above ourselves again like we did. They (Zimbabwe) will be at home and have depth and we have to counter that.”

The tournament is designed exclusively for footballers playing in respective domestic leagues.