More than a match won

HARARE - There is no shortage of sub-plots whenever Zimbabwe and South Africa clash in the famed Limpopo Derby, and against that backdrop, the tone was set for an enthralling international friendly match between these two in Soweto on Tuesday night.

Any win over South Africa is something to savour for us Zimbos, but there was a much bigger victory for the Warriors on that night than the 2-1 win as Ian Gorowa’s merry band of men gave themselves and the nation more reasons for good cheer.

Not only did they leave Orlando Stadium with a sweet win over the much-fancied Bafana Bafana – they left with bragging rights, as true Warriors, worthy ambassadors for a nation that has always lurked in the shadow of its more illustrious neighbour.

The Warriors were just terrific on the night and that they needed the win badly was abundantly evident from the first whistle.

Rarely do we see the Warriors play with so much intensity and emotion, launching into endless tackles without fear and standing up to verbal confrontations with the passion of proud men not willing to lose a single battle of this neighbourly warfare disguised as a football match.

That Zimbabwe’s team on the night was dominated by players plying their trade in the South African Premiership, pitted against Bafana’s cream of the Absa Premiership, added fuel to the battle and gave the Warriors a perfect platform to prove that they are better footballers despite being the poor cousins.

Here was a wonderful opportunity for them to achieve a sense of well-being and vent their frustration against the everyday challenges they face as Zimbabwean players in South Africa.

You could clearly see, in the Warriors’ approach to the game, an inner anger and defiance against the barrage of ridicule on South African social network sites with a borderline xenophobic undertone to them and not least the sickening insults, masked as readers’ comments, directed at their persons and country on online publications articles.

This was a group of men fighting for their country.

On the field, it was perhaps the most important victory of Ian Gorowa’s early international coaching career; he didn’t just guide the Warriors to a 2-1 win over South Africa, he strengthened his growing reputation of an astute and young football coach well equipped to take the team to the next level.

His tactics were spot on, using the quick counter attack to great effect.

And having worked with the foreign-based contingent for the first time since his appointment, Gorowa should be pleased with what he saw, as he begin to work on combinations ahead of 2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers.

The Warriors were solid and well drilled at the back, Carlington Nyadombo and Felix Chindungwe standing tall as Zimbabwe’s last line of defence.

Willard Katsande and Danny Phiri make for a solidly impregnable central midfield pairing and they hustled well all night on Tuesday.

The magical Khama Billiat was simply magnificent upfront with his bag of tricks while Knowledge Musona’s class was abundantly evident in Warriors colours again.

Gorowa is conscious of the talent at his disposal and if he continues to inculcate the kind of team spirit exhibited at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night, then Zimbabwe will at long last have a formidable team capable of taking on the best on the continent.

An exciting future lies ahead.

Comments (2)

It was a match from the top shelf.Most cities had refused to offer the stadia for the match because" The Warriors were going to be walked over hence the match was said to be a no crowd puller". I hope The Warriors and Bafana Bafana will be drawn in the same group in Afcon and world cup qualifiers and then everbody will see who is really the big brother.

Kidza Kidza - 12 September 2013

Its time the world got to know what this country is capable of when it comes to soccer. Its time we got back to the AFCON show piece.

Yadini - 13 September 2013

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