RUBAVU - Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa was left to lament wasted opportunities after Zimbabwe lost 1-0 to Zambia in their African Nations Championships (Chan) Group D opener on Tuesday.
A pulsating second half, where Zimbabwe created a host of chances as they threatened to grind an important result, which was going to brighten their hopes of sailing through to the knockout stages, ended in disappointment.
The Warriors could not turn their dominance into goals and an injury to defender Elisha Muroiwa just after half time, saw Isaac Chansa grab an important winner for Chipolopolo.
Warriors players, Edmore Chirambadare and Ronald Chitiyo among others, took turns to miss golden opportunities.
The result left Zimbabwe with a tough task, needing to win at all costs their next match against Mali on Saturday if they are to keep their hopes alive.
“I think on the overall the boys played well. After the final whistle, I first thought they failed to apply themselves but I then realised it was only in the first 30 minutes where they were jittery,” Pasuwa said.
“It could be that they were still trying to acclimatise to the type of play in the tournament. To some of the boys, it’s their first time playing at this level.
“We had decent chances which we could have buried. They (Zambia) got only one chance which they scored and again experience counted for them. Maybe luck was just not on our side. There were some areas where we did not do certain things right. In the decisive moments we failed to score. But we are trying as much as we can to work on our shortcomings.”
Pasuwa also felt his team’s medical personnel took time to take note of the extent of Muroiwa’s injury which resulted in Zambia getting the goal.
“If you saw during that time we conceded again it was a case of the time we took in decision-making. I have the duty to coach and on the medical side there are also doctors responsible for that,” Pasuwa added.
“He was one key member of our defence and the goal came from his position.”
Pasuwa acknowledges Mali will be difficult opponents.
“I think now the boys know what to expect and should be better prepared in our next match against Mali.”