Warriors blip leaves them in tight spot

HARARE - Zimbabwe men’s national soccer team — the Warriors defeat to Liberia on Sunday in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers — should be taken as a step backwards given the new dynamics that have now come into play.

The Warriors needed just a draw to book a ticket to the African football’s biggest jamboree in Cameroon next year but a combination of poor team selection and uninspiring performance means that we now head into the final game needing to either win or draw and hope results go against teams that are now back in contention for qualification.

This is really disappointing and frustrating for millions of Warriors fans who had, before Sunday Group G match loss, been looking forward to one result — Warriors securing their berth to the biggest continental showpiece.

Instead we are now in a situation where we have to work out permutations and exert a lot of pressure on the “boys” to just beat Congo in our final game in March.

And, psychologically this is not as easy as it looks.

We are still top of the group with eight points but Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who will play each other in Kinshasa, have bounced back into contention after the Warriors’ first defeat in the qualifiers.

Liberia are now a point behind and the DRC are on six points.

Bottom-placed Congo on five points still have an outside chance of qualifying behind whoever wins the group — depending on their performance in Harare and the result between Liberia and the DRC.

Liberia would need an outright victory to qualify either in second place or as group winners if the Warriors are held or lose in Harare.

The DRC will qualify either as runners-up or group winners if they beat Liberia and the Warriors lose as they can’t pip us if we are tied on points because of the head-to head record between the two nations.

Congo would need to beat the Warriors by a wide margin and hope results elsewhere go their way to qualify.

Zimbabwe has been in this situation before and failed to qualify. In the early 1990s the Warriors needed to beat Congo, yes the same team we will be playing in our last match, but ended up missing qualification when two horrendous blunders by goalkeeper John Sibanda at the National Sports Stadium cost us.

The “boys” have put themselves in a tricky situation.

Comments (2)

Poor game plan,we conceded that goal with less than twenty minutes left.The warriors should have gone for an early goal and then pack the bus to mantain the lead.

widzo - 21 November 2018

Mhofu is well known for his defensive formations even where goals are needed.

widzo - 21 November 2018

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