Warriors are the Kings of Cosafa

HARARE – Zimbabwe are the undisputed kings of the southern African region after beating Zambia 3-1 in yesterday’s Cosafa Castle Cup final at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in South Africa.

The Warriors got their goals from forward Knox Mutizwa, winger Talent Chawapiwa and defender Ocean Mushure while substitute Lubinda Mundia scored the consolation for Chipolopolo with his first touch of the game.

Yesterday’s triumph was Zimbabwe’s fifth Cosafa Castle Cup victory with the other four wins coming in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2009.

Zambia and South Africa remain in second place with only four Cosafa Castle Cup titles.

Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa also wrote his own piece of history by winning his third title in this regional tournament.

Chidzambwa is also still unbeaten in 15 Cosafa Castle Cup matches with 13 wins and only two draws in this competition.

Naturally, the Zimbabwe coach was pleased with the way his team went about their business as they had to start the competition in preliminary group stages.

In six matches, the swashbuckling Warriors scored a staggering 19 goals while only conceding five.

Captain Ovidy Karuru won the tournament’s Golden Boot award with six goals while Mutizwa was named the man-of-the-tournament after scoring five times.

“I feel very happy. I also feel very happy for the boys. It wasn’t easy for us because we played six games and they (players) were scoring so many goals,” Chidzambwa said.

“We also managed to score three goals in the final and I’m very pleased; I’m wordless.”

Chawapiwa, who was given the man-of-the-match award for his scintillating performance in the final, was also over the moon.

“I’m more than excited after winning such a final like this. It’s such a great feeling for a player to win a gold medal,” the FC Platinum winger said.

“I had never won a gold medal in my career but I’m just grateful to God that we have managed to win the final today.”

Chipolopolo started the match enjoying a lot of possession with the Warriors defence on the back foot in the opening exchanges.

Zambia were threatening a lot with their forwards Justin Shonga and Brian Mwila causing some anxious moments for Zimbabwe.

After weathering the Chipolopolo early attacks, the Warriors finally emerged from their shell and took the lead against the run of play in the 22nd minute.

Mushure sent in a long ball into the Zambia box where Mutizwa capitalised on some sloppy goalkeeping by Allan Chibwe.

With the Chipolopolo defenders expecting their goalkeeper to collect safely, Mutizwa got to the ball first to head into an empty net.

The Golden Arrows forward should have scored his second of the game just after the half hour mark when he was set up by a move that involved Karuru and Chawapiwa.

Mutizwa surprisingly shot at Chibwe’s near post with the Zambia goalkeeper parrying the shot for a corner.

The Warriors were punished for that missed chance when Zambia equalised six minutes before the break.

Mundia had just come on for Mike Katiba when he headed home after a Zambia short corner that caught out Zimbabwe.

After the break, Zimbabwe were the better side as they were now enjoying more possession and Mutizwa should have scored a brace five minutes after the restart.

Mutizwa dispossessed a Zambian defender near the halfway line before charging towards goal but shot straight at Chibwe.

Chawapiwa finally restored the Warriors’ lead with a well-taken goal in the 56th minute when he beat his marker inside the box before burying his shot past Chibwe.

Mutizwa had done well to head Mushure’s cross with the ball ricocheting off the upright and Chawapiwa was on hand to profit from the rebound.

Mushure made sure of the victory when he scored the Warriors’ third after some brilliant work down the right wing by Chawapiwa.

The FC Platinum winger beat a number of Zambian defenders before cutting back for Mushure, who scored with a thumping low shot with his weaker right foot.

Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda was disappointed with the soft goals his side conceded.

“They (Zimbabwe) played a very good game and they had a good tournament, they were the most mature team in this competition,” Nyirenda said.

“We lost it in the first half by making schoolboy mistakes on the goals that we conceded. We came back to make it 1-1 but in the second half we lost concentration.”

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