Zimbabwe qualified forthe African Nations Championships (Chan) finals to be staged in South Africa next year after grinding out an away win against Zambia at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium yesterday.
REPORT BY KEVIN MAPASURE IN NDOLA, ZAMBIA
Against all odds, the Warriors stunned their more illustrious opponents with a Charles Sibanda second-half strike.
Zambia enjoyed most of the possession but Zimbabwe created the best chances on the break, and made good use of one of these to end Chipolopolo’s unbeaten run at this stadium.
Striker Nelson Mazivisa was the architect of the goal when he dispossessed Zambia captain Bronson Chama and delivered a peach of a pass to Sibanda for an easy task to beat the goalkeeper Danny Manyau on 63 minutes.
Substitute Masimba Mambare could have increased the lead after another counter attack move but miscued his effort. Zambia poured in everything but they just could not breach Zimbabwe’s defence.
Zimbabwe coach IanGorowa was ecstatic after the match, but conceded that his team endured a tough afternoon.
“I am very happy we have qualified, but I have to admit that for most of the game we were under pressure,” said Gorowa.
Gorowa might have surprised many with his selection and set up when he played Milton Ncube at left-back while benching Peter Moyo for Danny Phiri.
But he was vindicated when Phiri put up a good performance in the middle of the park.
Meawhile, BBC reports that Mozambique host Angola in Maputo this afternoon in the first leg of a tie that will decide who joins Zimbabwe and hosts South Africa from the Southern Zone.
Also today, Cameroon tackle 2009 champions the DR Congo in Garoua in another first leg tie, the winners will also qualify for next year’s tournament in South Africa.
Burkina Faso, Burundi, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda have all progressed through regional qualifiers to reach the finals.
The tournament will be held between January 11 and February 1 in 2010 World Cup venues Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Cape Town, where the opening game and final will be staged.
Warriors first 11 line up
George Chigova, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Partson Jaure (Captain), Eric Chipeta, Milton Ncube, Devon Chafa, Danny Phiri, Ali Sadiki, Charles Sibanda, Nelson Mazivisa, Donald Ngoma