Angola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0)1
Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0)1
THE Young Warriors dropped two crucial points when they were held by Angola in a rain-drenched exciting African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games men’s football encounter played at Barbourfields (BF) Stadium yesterday.
The seemingly fatigued Young Warriors, who had played Swaziland at Luveve Stadium on Monday, dropped to second position in Group A.
Malawi leapt to the top spot with six points as they came from behind to beat Mozambique at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Angola remain on third spot with four points, while Mozambique, with the same number of points, are on position four due to an inferior goal difference after losing to Malawi at Luveve Stadium.
Young Warriors must win their last group match against Malawi on Friday. The log leaders have what looks like an easy encounter against Swaziland at BF today.
Total Football Academy product Thomas Kadyaridzire rescued the Young Warriors with a 79th minute equaliser after Angola had scored first through Cristofer Luzala Mbuini in the 49th minute.
Young Warriors coach Tafadzwa Mashiri conceded that it’s a must-win encounter against Malawi on Friday.
“It’s a must-win for us against Malawi,” he said.
“We should have killed the game today and would have been in a good position to remain in the competition. We were affected by suspension with our captain (Mathias Chodeva) having accumulated two yellow cards. We also made one injury-inspired change to the team and that affected us.”
Angola, still with a chance, also play their last tie against Swaziland tomorrow at Luveve Stadium.
Coach Simao José said Zimbabwe played a good game, but he believed they still had a chance to make it to the semi-finals.
“Zimbabwe are a good team and they played a good game,” he said.
“It was difficult to win. It was 50-50. We had equal opportunities. We still have a chance to qualify. If we were able to play well against Zimbabwe who were at home then we can beat Swaziland.”
Swaziland will have to win both their matches against Malawi and Angola while Mozambique have already being knocked out of the competition.
The top two teams qualify for the semi-finals and Zimbabwe, Angola, Malawi and Swaziland all still have a chance in the five-team group.
Rescheduling of the fixtures by Cosafa has seen teams play games within 24 hours in breach of the standard, at least 36 to 48 hours rest for players after taking part in competitive matches as regulated by Fifa.
Another revised schedule of fixtures was released by Cosafa yesterday. Heavy rains pounded BF, but that did not stop the home fans from cheering their boys on after Mbuini had struck in the 49th minute.
A crude tackle by central defender Trevor Zidoro on Angola’s danger man Vladimir Eston Antonio earned his side a free-kick just on the edge of the penalty box.
Mbuini’s strike curled past the Young Warriors’ wall, beating goalkeeper Kelvin Shangiwa on the near post.
But when all seemed over for the Young Warriors, Kadyaridzire received a pass from the centre, dribbled past Angola defender Fernando Jacinto Quissanga before unleashing a thunderbolt that beat goalkeeper Sebastio Coio all systems out.
Kadyaridzire had an effort saved by Coio in the 32nd minute after receiving a cross from impressive right linkman Ishmael Munsaka.
Angola: S Coio, L Joao, F Feliciano, F Quissanga, O Soares, J Songa (M Costa 55th minute), V Antonio (I Joao 69th minute), Z Catraio (M Paulo 63rd minute), D Antonio, C Mbuini, N da Luz
Zimbabwe: K Shangiwa, F Rukunda, J Munzira, L Muyambo, T Kadyaridzire, D Khumalo, I Munsaka (L Bvochora 67th minute), L Lunga, B Sibanda (A Chivandire 78th minute), T Zidoro, T Mthunzi