Advantage Young Warriors

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Under-23 national soccer team defied all odds to stun Cameroon in the first leg of their African Games qualifier here yesterday.

For much of the past week, the Young Warriors’ camp had been rocked by a serious crisis as most of the foreign-based players failed to turn up.

The African Games are not on the Fifa calendar and clubs are not obliged to release their players for the competition.

Despite all these setbacks, Zimbabwe managed to overcome the odds and defeated their highly-fancied opponents.

Captain Wisdom Mutasa scored the only goal of the match after 22 minutes.

The FC Platinum midfielder finished off a cross from Blessing Moyo as he produced a low shot from inside the box t beat the Cameroon goalkeeper.

The Young Warriors now take a slender lead to Yaounde for the second leg in two weeks time.

If Zimbabwe wins in the return leg, they will proceed to the 2015 African Games in Congo later this year where the three top teams automatically qualify for next year’s Olympic Games.

Young Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa praised his charges but bemoaned the missed chances.

“We lacked depth going forward but I am happy with the win, we need to work on our goal scoring techniques,” he said.

“But I think we lacked the killer instinct because we played some of our midfielders upfront as you know some of our players did not come for this match.

“We can go and get a good result in the return leg, but it’s the preparations now that count most.”

The former Dynamos coach said the authorities must suspend league games when the national team is playing.

“Normally, when the national team is playing clubs must allow players to join the national team, and the league must be suspended for that certain week,” he said.

“I thought there is a problem somewhere, somehow but I thought on my side that this is a national team, so clubs must allow players to come for us to build a strong squad, we are hoping for the return leg all players will be available.

“The difference between coaching a club and a national team is that at a club you have time now but at the national team you don’t own players.

“Like yesterday after we finalised our squad, Highlanders came and took their player and it was a big challenge for us to start again.

“The win was not a surprise to me because I told the players that they must deliver for the good of the nation.”

Cameroon assistant coach Mabeung Kasack is still hopeful that his side will turn around the tie in the second leg.

“Yes we are not happy with the result but Zimbabwe played a good game, they are very young and they are very quick,” he said.

“On our return leg, we are going to put some players, at least 10 new players who are also young and quick to for us to beat Zimbabwe

“We didn’t have preparation, our goalkeeper from Barcelona did not meet the team and I think in the return leg he will be available.

“I think in Cameroon, Zimbabwe will play counter attack if they do that I am confident that we are going to beat Zimbabwe to qualify.

“Another issue that will give us advantage at our home is that our ground has got natural grass which is different to this artificial turf and I think the home crowd will play a crucial role for us to qualify.”

Teams

Zimbabwe: Tatenda Mukuruva,Wisdom Mutasa, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Blessing Moyo, Liberty Chakaroma, Teenege Hedebe (Lawrence Mhlanga 87 min), John Takwara, Praise Tonha, Malvin Gaki, Prichchard Mpelele (Admire Dzumbunu 62 min), Carlos Rusere

Cameroon: Ndjomo Ndjana, Tabi Manga, Djetei Mohamed, Mballa Mboudou, Siewe Thokemeni, Yma Honla(Nji Mfifen 44min), Brice Tchamabo, Armel Djimmoe, Aselme Bigna (Junior Mfede 55min), Gog Mongang (Ya Abianda 67 min), Awono Atemenge

Comments (1)

bhora igedhini bhora mugedhe mawarriors

prosper chigavakava - 28 March 2015

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