Mugeyi backs Warriors to upset Senegal

HARARE - Former Warriors forward Wilfred Mugeyi has urged the side to build on their impressive start at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after they came close to registering an upset win over Algeria on Sunday.

Kalisto Pasuwa’s men were minutes away from a famous victory against the highly-fancied Desert Foxes before reigning African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez equalised to salvage a 2-2 draw for the North Africans.  

The Warriors should count themselves unlucky after playing some excellent football having led for 81 minutes through goals from Kuda Mahachi and Nyasha Mushekwi only for Mahrez to spoil the party.

Now a win tomorrow against Senegal in their second Group B game will be a big step towards qualifying for the quarter-finals.

The Lions of Teranga began their tournament with a 2-0 win over Tunisia but for long periods during that game, they were on the back foot.

Zimbabwe’s last group match will be a clash against Tunisia on January 23.

But the former Warriors forward reckons Pasuwa’s charges broke through a mental barrier when they matched favourites Algeria man for man.

“It was a great performance from the boys, especially in the first half. We put them under pressure for 45 minutes and had good opportunities to kill the game.

“Unfortunately, their goalkeeper was in good form and made some excellent saves,” Mugeyi, who is infamous for his miss against Egypt at the 2004 Afcon finals, told the Daily News.

“In my opinion, we defended very deeply in the second half and allowed Algeria to come at us. We were also very sloppy in our passing, giving the ball away cheaply and that made the opposition strong and they scored that equaliser.”

Mugeyi said: “I think in our last two matches, we have shown that we can be dangerous with the quality we have, especially going forward but now we just need to be consistent throughout the 90 minutes and stay focussed.

“I’m still very optimistic that we can cause an upset and go through to the next round. In Pasuwa we trust.”

Warriors were dealt a huge blow after striker Knowledge Musona was ruled out of the tie against the Lions of Teranga after suffering a hamstring injury and doctors say he needs at least seven days to recover.

Musona only lasted 12 minutes before he was substituted in the opening game against Algeria.

His absence will be no doubt a heavy blow to Pasuwa who watched as his charges missed several good scoring chances that came their way.

Tendai Ndoro is likely to be given the nod to start in place of Musona while Cuthbert Malajila, who missed a sitter in the dying stages against Algeria, Matthew Rusike, Evans Rusike and Tino Kadewere are other options.

A lot of Warriors fans were left disappointed after Ndoro spent the entire 90 minutes on the bench on Sunday despite his impressive form for Orlando Pirates in the South African Super Diski.   

Pasuwa will, however, welcome back Netherlands-based midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, who will be available for selection against the Lions of Teranga after he served his one-game ban after accumulating two yellow cards during the qualifiers.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.