Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
Mozambique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(0) 1
ZIMBABWE’s Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign came to a disappointing conclusion at Rufaro Stadium in Harare yesterday with yet another poor show that ended in a draw against Mozambique.
The result means the Warriors ended their campaign bottom of Group G with just two points from a possible 18, while their opponents yesterday finished second from the bottom with three points.
Egypt won the group with 12 points and qualified for the knockout stage, ahead of their dead-rubber match against Guinea tomorrow.
Masimba Mambare had given the Warriors the lead on 42 minutes with a rising shot from inside the box, but Manuel Fernandez equalised just after the hour mark to deny Warriors coach Ian Gorowa his first win at home in three attempts since taking over.
The former Black Rhinos and Dynamos striker Gorowa, the third Warriors coach to take charge of the team in the campaign after Rahman Gumbo and Klaus-Dieter Pagels, blamed fatigue on his team’s below par performance.
“The players did very well, but you could see they were tired,” Gorowa said. “I’m not worried about this result, but my concern is the preparation for the match. It’s not an excuse though, but the preparations were not up to scratch.
“I raised this issue that these players cannot play league games on Wednesday and Thursday and expect them to perform on Sunday. You can see the players were tired. They lacked sharpness.
“They actually did well to get a point if we have to be honest. I am disappointed that we did not win, but again I think it was just too much for the boys,” Gorowa added.
If there was one positive thing that Gorowa probably picked from his team’s below-par show, it was the performance of debutants Kudakwashe Mahachi and Bruce Kangwa — especially the former who won the hearts of the Warriors fans with some deft touches and direct play that mesmerised the Mozambique wingbacks.
“I think Mahachi did well and also Bruce did not do too bad,” Gorowa said.
Mozambique coach Joao Chissano said: “It was a difficult match to play and I am happy with a point. We created good chances in the second half and could have won the match, but a point is a fair result. I’m happy with the result but not the final position on the group.”
Mahachi brought the game’s first moment of excitement after just three minutes when the exciting Chicken Inn winger burst forward on the left wing before teeing the ball through the legs of a defender to Mambare who shot over.
Save for that earlier action, the tempo died down with the home side content passing the ball around in their half against a Mambas side comfortable in sitting back.
Gorowa would benefit from a mini break when his goalkeeper George Chigova went down injured as he summoned the rest of his players for a quick meeting to restructure.
From his gestures on the touchline, the message was pretty clear that Gorowa wanted the ball to be moved forward and the players appeared to have heeded the call as they started to venture upfront with some nice build-ups.
Willard Katsande, the only foreign-based player in the team, combined well with Mahachi to find Tawanda Muparati whose snap shot was blocked by keeper Soares Soarito, for the Warriors’ first shot on target — and that was after 27 minutes.
At the other end, Chigova was made to make a smart save, tipping over a firm shot from Apson Soulto.
The Warriors found their goal when Muparati won possession just outside the centre circle, charged forward before the keeper blocked the initial effort.
The rebound fell on the path of Peter ‘Rio’Moyo who hit the upright and the ball rolled across the face of goal and Mambare was at the right place to hit the nets.
As the clock hit the 45 minute mark, Mahachi found himself being marked by the Mozambican goalie at the edge of the box and he managed to beat his marker well, but his square pass found no takers with Soarito off position.
Moyo then shot wide in first-half injury time as the Warriors finished the half strongly.
The second half belonged to Mozambique as they created the better chances with their star man Elias Pelembe very influential.
And when the visitors were finding their footing, Gorowa made two substitutions on 65 minutes, bringing in Hardlife Zvirekwi and Donald Ngoma for Mambare and Moyo and the changes appeared to weaken his side.
Immediately, Pelembe lofted a pass over the defence to beat an offside trap to find Josimar Josimar whose grounder beat Chigova, but right-back Oscar Machapa who had trailed behind his fellow defenders to put the Mambas strikers onside, tamely cleared the ball from the line.
The ball landed invitingly for 63rd minute substitute Fernandez who made no mistake from inside the box in the 68th minute.
It was Mozambique who continued to create better chances with Pelembe shooting over a minute later before Josimar ran clear, but failed to beat Chigova.
Katsande tried his luck from range on 90th minute, but his shot went wide while Mahachi broke loose on the left wing deep into added-on time, but his cross was horribly high, and that last action summed up the Warriors’ awful afternoon.
Zimbabwe: G Chigova, P Jaure, E Chipeta, B Kangwa, O Machapa, W Katsande, M Mambare (D Ngoma, 65th min), P Moyo (H Zvirekwi, 65th min), K Mahachi, T Muparati (C Sibanda, 81st min), N Maziwisa
Mozambique: S Soarito, F Chico, G Alvarito, E Pelembe, A Soulto (M Sinamunda, 46th min), D Alberto (M Fernandez, 63rd min), J Mazive, A Miro, D Khan, S Telinho, J Josimar.