Zimbabwe go into today’s African Cup on Nations match against the Democratic Republic of Congo with their backs against the wall, after The Warriors failed to kill off the game against the Cranes of Uganda Monday.
Had Zimbabwe managed to convert at least one of the many gilt-edged chances they created against Uganda, they would be sitting on three poised and knowing fully well that a win against the DRC would suffice to power them into the next round for the first time in four attempts.
However, The Warriors followed up their 1-0 loss to hosts Egypt with a painful 1-1 draw with Uganda, which left them stuck on one point as they head into this evening’s encounter, where even a slender win may not be enough should Egypt fail to beat Uganda with a big score line.
The game against Uganda was played shared in two halves, the first half warriors dominating and the Cranes of Uganda then triumphed possession a bit in the second half. As a perennial norm when Zimbabwe senior team fails to win direct, the nation is accustomed to then enter into a complex matrix of using calculators and arithmetic probability predictions of the remaining matches to come.
Group A has the hosts Egypt, who have already made it through to the knockout stages, after they beat the DRC 2 – 0 to make it six points out of a possible six.
The Cranes had their game plan against Zimbabwe well-executed from the kick off whistle as they pilled pressure first few minutes into the game which paid off to a Ugandan goal. Tanzanian based Simba S.C. striker Emmanuel Okwi finished an Abdu Lumala’s shot which Polokwane City FC Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova punched into the Okwi’s way. With the net empty Emmanuel steadily buried the warriors with a nicely finish on the 13th minute. Conceding that goal made the Zimbabwe warriors to wake up from their slumper, and immediately took over the dominance of the game.
Sunday Chidzambwa the warriors coach had made four changes into the second match, two of the changes were injury induced on Edmore Sibanda the goalkeeper and foreign based Marvelous Nakamba. Both sustained injuries which restricted them not to be part of the second match of the tournament.
A case of two missed chances of which the last one became the talk of the day the captain was so close to score on the 24th minute, but he fluffed the chance as the ball went over missing the target. Warriors kept piling the pressure with the elusive Kaizer Chiefs winger the Khama Billiat also missed his effort on the 27th minute, again on the 34th minute. The Ugandan defence had more concentration on Khama Billiat not to give him much space, as he persistently posed a threat to their lead.
The equalizer came on the 42nd minute as Khama had to rescue the nation from a possible defeat. The build up of the equalizer saw the captain Musona giving a classic chest pass to Ovidy Karuru who never disappointed on that drill as he then dribbled two Ugandan defenders before passing an assist to Billiat who was already running towards Mamelodi Sundown first choive goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Khama proved excellence as he flicked the ball changing its direction to the bottom far corner beating all systems out Onyango.
From the breather Zimbabwe lost the momentum it had enjoyed the greater part of the first half. The miss of the tournament came on the 53rd minutes when Onyanga had been already lying on the ground with the empty goal area Knowledge Musona exerted too much effort which missed the target and hit the woodwork. The stunning blunder was so heart breaking as it was more easy to score than to miss. May be the gods of football were not on warriors side, which had played with all their hearts out.
The Serbian, Sebastein Desabre coached side the Cranes must thank Onyango who on the 70th minute had to save from a slippery shot from Rusike, as he recovered from the ground and stretched deep to the goal line and punched back into the field of the play to what could have been warriors second goal of the warriors. Ugandan Kaddu fluffed the qualifying chance to score in the 76th minute as his effort went over the bar with Chigova beatean on the ground.
The Zimbabwe vs Angola match ended 1-1 with Uganda now second on the group table having four points, whilst the host Egypt leading the group with six points after winning again 2 – 0 vs DRC last night. The possible situation which warriors are facing is to play that Uganda will lose by a bigger margin against the host country Egypt or another scenario whereby the warriors can be amongst the best four losers who will be added to the twelve qualified teams for the last sixteen. Thus the calculator use which is facing our boys.