Warriors rated after pathetic Afcon display

HARARE - The Warriors were knocked out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon in the group stages following a disappointing 4-2 defeat to Tunisia on Monday night.

It was Zimbabwe’s second defeat of the tournament after having already lost 2-0 to Senegal and drawn 2-2 with Algeria.

Below the Daily News rates out of 10 the 16 players used by coach Kalisto Pasuwa during the tournament as the Warriors returned home with only a single point.

Tatenda Mkuruva — 5

Minutes played: 270

Despite conceding eight times in three matches at a rate of 2,6 goals per game, Mkuruva was probably the Warriors’ best player at the tournament. The Dynamos goalkeeper pulled off some astonishing saves especially in the matches against Senegal and Tunisia. Zimbabwe would have conceded more had it not been for Mkuruva as he was severely exposed by his defence.

Costa Nhamoinesu — 2

Minutes played: 270

At his club Sparta Prague, Nhamoinesu normally plays at left back. Although he put in decent performances at centre back during the qualifiers, he was found out in Gabon as the Warriors faced decent opposition. He was out of position most of the times and committed himself in situations it was impossible to win the ball.

Elisha Muroiwa — 1

Minutes played: 270

The Dynamos centre back was clearly out of depth against the quality strikers he came across in Gabon. Muroiwa had a disappointing 2016 season punctuated by injuries and was clearly not match fit for high octane tournament football.

Hardlife Zvirekwi — 3

Minutes played 270

After a stellar 2016 with CAPS United, a lot was expected from Zvirekwi but he spent most of the time defending in Gabon as the Warriors were always under pressure. On the few occasions, he crossed the halfway line, he was let down by his delivery.

Onismor Bhasera — 3

Minutes played: 270

The SuperSport wing back showed his potential when he won the penalty in the first game against Algeria but sadly that was his only meaningful contribution he made during the tournament. Like Zvirekwi, he had to do a lot of defending which was not convincing though.

Danny Phiri — 1

Minutes played: 135

The 2015 Soccer Star of the Year was one of the biggest disappointments in Gabon particularly in the second half against Algeria as he gave away possession at a time when the Warriors needed some cool heads in midfield. He missed the Senegal game but returned for Monday’s match and put in another insipid 45 minutes before he was substituted at halftime.

Willard Katsande — 3

Minutes played: 270

We cannot doubt Katsande’s commitment and passion as he brutalised opponents with some crunch tackles but unfortunately brawn alone does not win football matches. It’s still a mystery how the exiting Warriors captain finished all three matches without a single yellow card as he chopped and wrestled opponents in front of the referees.

Kuda Mahachi — 2

Minutes played: 136

Started the tournament brightly with an angled equaliser against Algeria in the first match but quickly disappeared in the second half. It was all downhill from there for the Golden Arrows star. Mahachi thrives on one-versus-one situations down the flanks but tended to drift inwards as he searched for the ball.

Khama Billiat — 2

Minutes played: 270

Billiat threatened to take the tournament by storm as he produced a scintillating first-half performance against Algeria which had pundits salivating. However, he ended up trying to do too much thereby failing to link up well with the rest of his teammates. This tournament probably answered why it has taken long for Billiat to break into Europe. It’s about the teamwork not individual brilliance.

Knowledge Musona — 5

Minutes played: 102 

Musona’s tournament was ruined by a hamstring injury 12 minutes into the first match but when he returned for the Tunisia match, he showed why he is regarded as the best player in this current generation of Warriors. His goal against the Carthage Eagles was pure class and had he remained fit throughout the tournament then the Warriors would have probably sneaked into the quarter-finals.

Nyasha Mushekwi — 3

Minutes played: 251

Mushekwi spent most of the time with his back to goal as he battled against big defenders in all the three matches. The supply from midfield or the wings was also very minimal for the China-based forward to cause any problems for the opposition defenders.

Marvelous Nakamba — 1

Minutes played: 180

The Netherlands-based midfielder struggled to assert his game in both matches against Senegal and Tunisia. It was only in one instant when he showed his potential by initiating the counter attack which created Tendai Ndoro’s goal against Senegal. Other than that, Nakamba failed to produce anything meaningful going forward or in helping out the defence.  

Matthew Rusike — 1

Minutes played: 123

Rusike definitely has talent but this is one tournament the Tunisia-bound forward would like to quickly forget as he was a huge disappointment. The loose pass he played in central midfield which was intercepted by Idrissa Gana Gueye and led to Senegal’s opening goal will define Rusike’s entire contribution at the tournament.

Tendai Ndoro — 2

Minutes played: 90

He arrived at the tournament as one of the most in-form strikers but had to contend with a place on the bench. When the Orlando Pirates forward was called into action, he showed the hunger and was rewarded with a goal in the loss to Tunisia.

Evans Rusike — 1

Minutes played: 45

He was introduced as a halftime substitution against Senegal when the team was already chasing the game. Rusike never provided the spark to help the team get back into the match.

Cuthbert Malajila — 0 

Minutes played: 19

Malajila will walk away with the moemish of the tournament as he missed a sitter in his cameo against Algeria. Moments after missing that chance, which would have probably taken the sting out of Algeria, the Desert Foxes responded by scoring the equaliser at the other end. He will always be remembered for that miss no matter how many goals he will score in the future. 

Kalisto Pasuwa — 1

The Warriors coach had a tough learning curve at this tournament as he was exposed due to his tactical changes at crucial intervals during all three matches. Firstly, it is the poor decision to set out his team to defend deep in the second half against Algeria then the naive approach to try to go pound for pound against Senegal in the second match. Against Tunisia, Pasuwa decided to give faith to the same core of the team which had struggled in the first two matches. Pasuwa should have been brave enough to make key changes which would have made his side defend better against the Carthage Eagles.

Comments (1)

Ndoro deserves much better than you gave him. It's not his fault the coach did not believe that he is our best striker.

Rasta! - 26 January 2017

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