Warriors have job on their hands

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Zimbabwe player Ocean Mushure celebrates a goal during the Cosafa Cup quater-final match in Lusaka, Zambia, yesterday

THE WARRIORS have a job on their hands after a rather lethargic second-half performance against Malawi on Saturday in reaching the semi-finals of the Cosafa Castle Cup.

FROM WELLINGTON TONI IN KITWE

The Warriors arrived here yesterday and watched the match between Angola and Lesotho, which confirmed the Palancas Negras as their semi-final opponents on Wednesday.
After watching the match in which Lesotho won after a penalty shoot-out, the Warriors then made a 45-minute trip back to Ndola for the last four clash.
Ronald Chitiyo was named the man-of-the match in Zimbabwe’s quarter-final win over Malawi.
Zimbabwe beat Malawi 3-1 on penalties after the match had ended 1-1 in regulation time. Devon Chafa, former Cranborne Boys’ High star Eric Chipeta and Ocean Mushure converted for the Warriors while the Flames missed three with goalkeeper Max Nyamupanedengu saving one.

Malawi played the second half of the match with 10 men after James Sangala was sent off for a second bookable offence, but they kept the Warriors on their toes and eventually managed to sneak an equaliser two minutes from time.

Coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels admitted his charges had failed to rise to the occasion despite having a one-man advantage.
“We had chances to make it 2-0 and win the match. We had a brilliant first half and I told my team that if we could not get asecond goal, we would be punished.

We had problems in defence, but really Malawi fought very hard in the match with 10 men and it’s always difficult to beat such a team,” Pagels said in his post-match conference on Saturday.

He added: “We needed to react to the advantage and I wanted to see what we could do in the opening 15 minutes.”
The twin centre-back pairing of Felix Chindungwe and Chipeta held its own against the Malawian attacks in the second half, but seemed to tire towards the end of the game leading to the late equaliser.

Equally, the goalkeeper seemed to lose a bit of concentration at the end, but atoned for that when he saved the third penalty kick from John Lanjesi leaving Mushure with the opportunity to seal the win for the Warriors.
The roving Dynamos left-back did not disappoint.

Zimbabwe benefited from a number of set pieces, but the absence of a proven dead ball specialist like the benched Ali Sadiki meant the chances were put to waste.

In midfield, the story was the same — Charles Sibanda seemingly tiring, goalscorer and skipper Masimba Mambare not dropping deep enough to support the under-pressure defence.

That meant Chafa was always on the back-foot in protecting the defence, and Malawi capitalised on that to launch attacks using the experience of former Orlando Pirates star Joseph Kamwendo.

Veteran Fisher Kondowe was a constant threat to the Warriors, watched by assistant coach Ian Gorowa for the first time, and he believed it was an excellent performance from his charges.

Chitiyo said he had been told by his coach that this was his tournament.
“The coach told me this was my tournament and I am happy with my start,” he said.
Malawi coach Tom Saintfiet was disappointed.

“I am very disappointed with the result, but am very proud of the team that we have and how we  played today (Saturday).
“We made some mistakes, like the goal that was scored by Zimbabwe,” he said.

“We had no men covering the rebound while Zimbabwe had two and they managed to score.
“After that we stabilised and put them under pressure, but then we had the red card. I thought the best decision by the referee was to warn the player that he was already on a yellow rather than send him off.

“Maybe the referee was trying to prove himself, but that killed the match.”
The former Warriors coach added: “In the second half, we pushed for more opportunities to get a goal because we realised they were not able to make it 2-0 and we eventually got that equaliser.

“Unfortunately, we had to lose the match on penalties which gives a dark shadow of how we played, but honestly the fire of the Flames was there.
“All the same I want to congratulate Zimbabwe on reaching the semi-final.”

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