WARRIORS coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels believes that Zimbabwe should have been given a penalty two minutes from time when Simba Sithole was hacked down in the Cosafa Castle Cup final against Zambia on Sunday.
FROM WELLINGTON TONI IN LUSAKA, ZAMBIA
The Warriors lost 2-0 after free kicks by Alex Ngonga and Kabaso Chongo.
But that was not the only incident during the match, as Tendai Ndoro, had also suffered a similar fate earlier, but Seychelles referee Bernard Camille waved play on.
The match official seemed to have been swayed by the vociferous home crowd and struggled to control the game towards the end of the match.
He was accosted by the Zimbabwe players when making some of his dubious decisions and it took captain Masimba Mambare and Chicken Inn skipper Felix Chindunwe to calm down matters.
In his analysis of the match, Pagels said: “I am not happy with the result at all. We had about 70% of ball possession. We played from the back and created chances, but failed to score.
“But I don’t know what was wrong with the referee. Two minutes from time, he could have given that one and the result could have changed,” Pagels said.
Assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa said even the first free-kick should not have been allowed to stand as Bornwell Mwape strayed into an offside position when the ball was delivered.
“There was interference of play in that free-kick if you watched closely and I think it should have not been allowed to stand,” Mutasa said.
Pagels added: “But we came in with a high fighting spirit; one touch play and short passes and we kept calm all the time. That was good football and Zimbabwe has a bright future.
“I hope they can find someone to build on to this since I will be going back to Germany next week when my contract ends,” he said.
The coach also blamed lack of fitness from the players.
“Like I have said before, Zambia, South Africa and Namibia have a lot of strong players unlike us which is quite a problem in Zimbabwe. Most of the clubs train once a day because they don’t have money to buy lunch.
“Physically, we have to improve for such tournaments,” the German coach, who is leaving to take up a six-month contract at a school at home, said.
Despite conceding as early as the fourth minute — a situation which Pagels had hoped to avoid on the eve of the match, the Warriors refused to be swayed by the crowd and played their tiki taka football.
Now, a potential African Nations Championships (Chan) battle is looming should both teams manage to get through their preliminaries next weekend.
Zambia are off to Gaborone for the first leg while the Warriors will be in Mauritius on the same weekend, probably with Ian Gorowa and a new backroom staff in charge.
Zambian coach Hervé Renard admitted that Zimbabwe had played the better football of the day, but the result was all that mattered.
“It’s the result that matters at the end of the match. We did not play well and we know we can do much better than this.
“We have a lot of work to do ahead and after beating South Africa, we knew it would even be tougher in the final, but we managed to get the goals that mattered.”
The Warriors arrived back in Harare last night aboard a chartered Air Zimbabwe flight after being hosted by the Zimbabwe embassy in Lusaka before departure back home.
The brief get together was organised by the friends of Zimbabwe based in the Zambian capital.
The national team are expected back in camp tomorrow to prepare for the Chan first leg qualifier against Mauritius this weekend and are expected to depart on Thursday.