'It's a good point'

HARARE - Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova, believes the team earned a valuable point during Sunday’s 1-1 draw away to Congo in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in Brazzaville.

Zimbabwe remains on top in Group G with four points after two games while the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in second place behind on goal difference.

The Warriors started the match at the Stade Alphonse Massamba Debat very well and deservedly took a 22nd minute lead through talisman Khama Billiat.

The Kaizer Chiefs forward had started the move before combining with Evans Rusike and captain Knowledge Musona.

Billiat then completed the move with a rising shot from close range that beat the Red Devils goalkeeper Chansel Massa.

Zimbabwe went on to dominate the remainder of the half as they had rattled the home side with some slick passing.

However, poor finishing meant the Warriors would not increase their lead going into the half time break.

Congo duly punished the Warriors as they equalised shortly after the break through their star forward Thievy Bifouma with a well-worked team goal of their own.

From there on, the Red Devils went on to dominate play leaving Zimbabwe to defend deeply in their own half.

The Warriors managed to create a couple of good chances on the break in the second half but once again lack of accuracy in front of goal proved to be the biggest weakness for Sunday Chidzambwa’s side.

On the balance of play especially in the first half where they had Congo on the back foot, Zimbabwe should have at least scored more than the one they managed.

Chigova, however, is convinced that the point earned at the Stade Alphonse Massamba Debat will go a long way in cementing the Warriors’ quest of qualifying for the 2019 Afcon finals to be held in Cameroon.

“We played well especially in the first half. I believe we should have capitalised on that and wrapped up the game before halftime, never the less, we will take the point back home,” Chigova told the Daily News.

“It is a point gained considering that we were playing away from home so we will cherish this draw and build on it in our remaining matches.”

The Warriors will resume their 2019 Afcon qualification journey next month with two back-to-back games against the second placed DRC.

Zimbabwe travel to Kinshasa on October 10 for the first game before making a quick turnaround as the reverse fixture is pencilled for the National Sports Stadium only three days later.

The Leopards needed a late equaliser to draw 1-1 away to Liberia on Sunday evening in Monrovia.

Chigova believes the two matches against the DRC will be instrumental in determining the Warriors qualification for the 2019 Afcon finals.

Only the top two teams from the 12 groups will qualify for Cameroon which means the Warriors are still in a good and commanding position.

Chidzambwa’s men need to win at least one of those two matches against the Leopards in order to remain set for qualification.

“We just need to prepare well for the games against DRC to make sure that we don’t drop points since it’s going to be a top of the table clash,” Chigova said.

By the time the DRC games arrive, Chidzambwa is hoping a number of his regular players might have recovered.

Central midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, forwards Nyasha Mushekwi and Tino Kadewere all pulled out of the squad for the trip to Brazzaville due to injuries.

The European-based players Tendayi Darikwa, Adam Chicksen and Kelly Lunga also withdrew from the squad as they are yet to receive Zimbabwean passports.

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