Warriors hold Morocco

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe began their 2014 African Nations Championship Group B campaign by holding Morocco to a goalless draw at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday.

Zimbabwe now need to beat Uganda in their next group game on Thursday at the same venue to enhance their chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals.

TUSSLE: Zimbabwe midfielder Ali Sadiki, left, works his way past Issam Erraki of Morocco during Sunday's match at Athlone Stadium. Picture: cafonline.com

The Warriors will conclude their group matches with a clash against Burkina Faso four days later.

The Atlas Lions started the first half the stronger of the two sides as the Warriors were too slow to come out of their shells.

Morocco enjoyed more of the possession with their slick passing game which threatened to overrun the Warriors in those opening minutes.

Although they had the better exchanges, the North Africans were mainly restricted to long range shots by the Warriors defence led by captain Partson Jaure and Eric Chipeta.

Morocco forward Issam Erraki coming close with a couple of long range shots.

Erraki forced a good save from Zimbabwe goalkeeper George Chigova after seven minutes when he tried his luck from outside the box.

Chigova had to tip over Erraki’s shot for a corner. 

On 19 minutes, Erraki was back again with another long range shot that had Chigova scrambling across his line to cover the right hand post.

Luckily for Zimbabwe the shot missed the upright by a few inches.

The Warriors were struggling to get hold of possession in those minutes with lone striker Simba Sithole getting little service from the midfielder.

Central midfielders Danny Phiri and Pasca Manhanga were the two players who were matching the pace and skill of the North Africans.

Ali Sadiki and Donald Ngoma, who were tasked to get behind the Morocco defence to give support to Sithole, had a disappointing afternoon.

It was a surprise that Sadiki lasted the entire 90 minutes as he clearly struggled with his game. The FC Platinum winger was also tasked to take most of Zimbabwe’s set pieces and that is another area where the Warriors struggled. 

Zimbabwe’s first real chance fell to Donald Ngoma, who headed over Sadiki’s after 40 minutes.

Two minutes later, the FC Platinum forward missed the best chance of the half when he made a mess of a cross from Simba Sithole from the right.

At the start of the second half, Zimbabwe coach Ian Gorowa brought on Tawanda Muparati for Manhanga to give another dimension to the Warriors game.

The reigning Zimbabwe Soccer Star of the Year took time to get into the game as the Warriors continued to play second fiddle to the Atlas Lions.  

Zimbabwe, however, proved to be dangerous on the counter especially with Kuda Mahachi on the left side.

The Chicken Inn winger was a constant threat every time he was on the ball but he was let down by his final ball into the box. 

Sithole should have given Zimbabwe the lead but his effort came off the upright after he got to the end of Ngoma’s cross from the right on 64 minutes.

Sadiki should have done better with the rebound but he shot straight at the Atlas Lions goalie Nadir Lamyaghri.

In the end the two teams could not find the breakthrough and had to settle for a draw at the end of 90 minutes. 

Teams

Zimbabwe: George Chigova, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Milton Ncube, Partson Jaure, Eric Chipeta, Danny Phiri, Donald Ngoma (Nelson Maziwisa 72 min), Kuda Mahachi, Ali Sadiki, Pasca Manhaga (Tawanda Muparati 46min), Simba Sithole (Charles Sibanda 83 min)

Morocco:  Nadir Lamyaghri, Abderrahim Achchakir, Zakaria El Hachimi, Mohamed Abarhoun, Brahim El Bahri (Oudi El Abdelkbir 86 min), Iajour Mouhssine, Mohsine Moutaouali, Anas Alasbahi, Mohamed Oulhaj, Issam Erraki, Walid El Kart (Rafik Abdessamad 74 min)

Comments (4)

Our beloved Warriors should be reminded that the reason they are in South Africa is to play as a team and achieve the envisaged reasults and not to showcase indvidual talent good enough to attract potential scouts and at the end achieve negative results,period

jerrymurs - 13 January 2014

I think our warriors displayed a good game yesterday. Our play has improved. The coach has to work on our finishing. We need to beat Uganda at all cost.

GOKO - 13 January 2014

very gd to our team wish u the best to coming games

cratious dumukwa - 13 January 2014

i think we should start to see ourselves as a big team also, so that the heading reads: Morocco holds Zimbabwe

SamaitaT - 14 January 2014

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