Warriors extinguish Flames

HARARE - The Zimbabwe national football team defied all odds to stun hosts Malawi 2-1 in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group L qualifier at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre yesterday.

The South Africa-based duo of Cuthbert Malajila and Khama Billiat scored in each half to ensure maximum points for the Warriors.

The Flames got their goal through the boot of John Banda in the first half.

Coach Calisto Pasuwa and his players had endured a long trip by road to Malawi only arriving in Blantyre in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

The Warriors had missed their flight to the Malawian capital on Thursday afternoon after players had refused to travel unless they had been paid their allowances and match fees.

Zimbabwe, however, did not show any signs of fatigue in the opening minutes and took a surprise lead in the 23rd minute.

The Flames defenders failed to deal with a low cross into their box and Malajila was at hand to pounce. 

The Mamelodi Sundowns’ striker trapped the ball with his mid rift before shooting on the turn to beat Flames goalkeeper MacDonald Harawa.

Zimbabwe seemed to have switched off after taking the lead as the hosts were back on level terms 60 seconds later.

A quick interchange between Malawi’s captain Joseph Kamwendo and Zico Mkanda inside the Warriors box provided space for Banda on the right channel.

The Blue Eagles midfielder unleashed a shot that gave Warriors goalkeeper Tatenda Makuruva no chance.

From there on, the Warriors were on the back foot as the hosts piled on the pressure but failed to beat Mukuruva.

The Dynamos keeper was called into action six minutes before the break when he tipped Micium Mhone’s header over the bar for a corner.

In the second half, the script remained the same with the Flames showing more intention than the visitors.

Mukuruva, undoubtedly the Warriors best player on the day, kept the visitors in the game with a number of good saves in the second half.

There were some anxious moments written all over the Zimbabwe technical bench following the Dynamos keeper’s injury in the 58th minute.

Mukuruva however, did not throw in the towel and endured the Flames’ barrage.

After absorbing all the pressure, the Warriors regained their lead seven minutes from time when Billiat scored a freak goal.

The Mamelodi Sundowns winger charged into the Malawi half down the left flank near the touch line.

With second half substitute Marvellous Nakamba the only teammate to aim for in the box, Billiat sent in a ponderous cross.

The cross, however swerved and looped over Harawa and into the net to stun the thousands of home fans.

Billiat was in disbelief to see the ball in the net and raced off to celebrate with his shirt pulled over his mouth.

Harawa on the other hand, rolled on the ground holding his back after crashing into the upright in an attempt to save Billiat’s cross.          

The Warriors held on to their lead this time around and bagged three points on the road to go level with Swaziland, who beat Guinea 2-1 in Cassablanca on Friday night.

Teams   

Malawi: Macdonald Harawa, Francis Mlimbika, John Lanjesi, Harry Nyirenda, Micium Mhone, Zico Mkanda, Joseph Kamwendo, Chimango Kayira, Limbikani Mzava, John Banda, Atusaye Nyondo.

Zimbabwe: Tatenda Mkuruva, Blessing Moyo, Partson Jaure, Justin Jangano, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Danny Phiri, Willard Katsande, Khama Billiat, Kuda Mahachi/ Eric Chipeta (89mins), Knowledge Musona/ Marvelous Nakamba (68mins), Cuthbert Malajila.

Comments (3)

Just imagine if this idiot called Dube was managing our soccer properly with such determined players. Zimbabweans will definitely be a proud footballing nation again. Anyway we need to take action now to make sure our soccer is not killed by this bastard, son of a bitch, idiot, dog man called Cashback Dube.

Ziziharinanyanga - 14 June 2015

By the way it was Dube who provided airfares on the first instance and the allowances that made the warriors depart for Malawi. It was not his fault they missed the flight, but the players who did not make their wishes on time. And please refrain from abusive language.

Significant Watemwa - 15 June 2015

Now that the Warriors have done a sterling job for the nations, what's next: # Some hangers on by the name of Zim Warriors Trust will come out of the wood panels like roaches and start associating with the winning warriors. Just to note when things were bad the Trust completely disappeared on face of the pitch. The Chairperson was even donating buses to Highlanders when the worrisome Warriors had no transport. # The tune 'Go gogo Warriors' would start to feature and gong the numerous radio stations. # Of course no credit for the Dube and his Zifa for making the best out of the chaos. They should expect more bashing from spoilers such as Sambo and self appointed Supporters association. As Louie Satchmore Armstrong says WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD.

Mac Fanner - 15 June 2015

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