RUBAVU - Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa was left a disappointed man after his charges conceded a last minute equaliser against Uganda to round off a disappointing African Nations Championships (Chan) campaign without a win here yesterday.
A 49th minute William Manondo strike seemed enough to earn Zimbabwe maximum points but a lapse of concentration by the defence deep into extra time allowed Uganda substitute Serunkuma Geofrey to head the ball home and ensure a share of the spoils.
The result meant the Warriors finished bottom of Group D with one point while Zambia and Mali proceeded to the quarterfinals after settling for a goalless draw in the other group match played in Kigali.
“It was the same story from our previous matches, lapse of concentration in the last minutes,” a disappointed Pasuwa said after the match.
“I am very disappointed because it appears we did not learn from our previous matches. I think credit should go to the goalkeeper (Tatenda Mukuruva).
“He did well to keep us in the game. He is still young and has developed quickly.”
Again, it was the same story as in the previous matches where the Warriors created a number of scoring opportunities but failed to convert them into goals.
But unlike in their matches against Zambia and Mali where their opponents failed to create chances, the Warriors also had goalkeeper Mukuruva to thank for shutting out Uganda on several occasions.
The Warriors came into the match already out of the tournament after losing by identical 1-0 scorelines in their opening two matches to Zambia and Mali. Unlike in their opening two matches, the Warriors had started brightly, knocking the ball around with confidence although limited meaningful chances were created.
It was Uganda, however, who went on to create the first real scoring opportunity when Mukuruva was forced into making a brilliant save from a Faruku Miya shot from just outside the box on 30 minutes.
The Warriors had the Dynamos goalkeeper to thank again three minutes later after he made another important save this time tipping an Issac Muleme effort over the bar.
The Warriors’ best chance fell to Roderick Mutuma who directed his effort wide with Uganda keeper Alitho James badly exposed.
Just like in all the other matches, the first half failed to produce any goals.
The Warriors came from the break more determined and found themselves ahead in the 49th minute after Manondo did well to beat an outdrawn James in goals for Uganda.
From there, it was a lopsided affair with the Warriors threatening to increase their tally but they took turns to miss good scoring chances with goal scorer Manondo the main culprit.
The Warriors were almost punished in the 71st minute but again the impressive Mukuruva did well to deny Miya from close range.
Two minutes later Manondo could have doubled the Warriors’ lead but instead directed his effort straight at the goalkeeper after being set up by Ronald Chitiyo.
The Harare City forward again twice missed two glorious chances in the last 10 minutes of the game.
And the Warriors paid dearly when Uganda capitalised on their defence’s failure to deal with a cross from the right side which allowed Geofrey to beat an exposed Mukuruva.
The Warriors are now expected back in the country this afternoon.
Uganda: Alitho James, Nsubuga Joseph, Juuko Kassaga (Ceaser Okhuti 59th min), Bernard Muwanga, Kizito Keziron, Ochaya Joseph, Faruku Miya, Erisa Ssekisambu (Lubega Edrisa 79th min), Ntege Ivan, Isaac Muleme (Serunkuma Geofrey 70th min), Awany Dennis
Zimbabwe: Tatenda Mukuruva, Lawrence Mhlanga, Joel Ngodzo, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Roderick Mutuma (Moses Demera 55th min), Bruce Kangwa, Stephen Makatuka, Raphael Manuvire (Farai Madhananga 68th min), Nqobizitha Masuku, William Manondo, Edmore Chirambadare (Ronald Chitiyo 59th min)