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Date: 23 April 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Warriors pick crucial point in Liberia

[Posted 05 Sep 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Mwanjali captained the Warriors in Monrovia

Liberia forced a 1-1 draw against visiting Zimbabwe at the Samuel Kenyon Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia last night in their opening match in Group A of the Africa Cup of Nations 2012 qualifiers.

The visitors drew first blood in the 30th minute through the efforts of Kaizer Chiefs striker Knowledge Musona. The 20-year old star came close to scoring in the 8th and 15th minutes in a first half where he was a thorn in the flesh for the Lone Star defence, but fluffed the earlier chances which fell his way.

In the 30th minute the young Musona cleverly intercepted a clearance by George Baysah, to beat Sunday Seah with a shot which nestled into the angle of the Liberian goal. Musona earned himself a first competitive goal at senior national team level after recently graduating from the Under 20 squad.

In the second half, Musona continued to cause the Liberian defence some anxious moments, and twwice in succession, the former Under 20 captain was denied by Seah, who had a brilliant afternoon for Laiberia.

Sadly the Zimbabwean ace striker injured himself in an aerial tussle against the Lone Star defence in the 74th minute and he could not continue with the match. Nyasha Mushekwi of Mamelodi Sundowns replaced him.

The Zimbabwean bench and players were left protesting in the 68th minute when Warriors goalkeeper Washington Arubi appeared to have been infringed upon enroute to a goal which was mysteriously credited to Sekou Oliseh whom the Zimbabwean bench and players expected to be penalised by the Benin referee Kofi Cojia for a foul on the keeper.

Mr. Cojia, to the chagrin of Zimbabwe, pointed to the centre circle, and probably missed the foul action, which gave Liberia an equaliser which the Zimbabwean camp strongly felt should not have stood as a goal.

Reports from Liberia indicate that the home side was under pressure for the entire 90 minutes, but looked dangerous on counter attacks. The Supersport United attacking midfielder Antony Laffor and Oliseh did much of the probing from counter attacks and free-kicks.

For Zimbabwe, Noel Kaseke, who is mainly utilised as a defensive midfielder at his club AC Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus, played well as a right back for the Warriors. Onismor Bhasera also did well on the left back, from where he delivered one of the free-kicks which was narrowly missed by Musona in the 15th minute.

It is not clear how effective the Edward Sadomba-Musona striking combination was last night. Pairing the two has always appeared suspect, given their lack of pedigree in front of goal. Both are great ball players and may chip in with crucial goals from time to time, but thats not their greatest weapon on the field of play.

Keeping Nyasha Mushekwi, a proven goal scorer on the bench, could be Norman Mapeza's only blemish in the otherwise plausible performance by the Warriors in Monrovia last night.

Warriors coach Mapeza still has a lot to correct before the next qualifier against overnight Group A leaders Cape Verde. Apart from the striking combination dilemna, the coach does not appear to be settled yet on his midfield combination, evidenced by the substitution of Rambanapasi with Mtizwa in the 79th minute.

The coach still has a lot of players at his disposal to consider for the central midfield role. Tinashe Nengomasha, Esrom Nyandoro and Cephas Chimedza are very possible and able candidates for one or even both of the roles in central midfield. Should the coach choose to bring in an attacking central midfielder, then there is the option of Amazulu of South Africa's Ramson Zhuwawo, Zimbabwe's reigning PSL Player of the Year.

In fact the entire team which played in Monrovia last night can not be regarded as the final Warriors team for the 2012 campaign. There is captain Benjamin 'Benjani' Mwaruwari still to consider upfront. The captain recently joined Blackburn Rovers in the English topflight soccer league.

There is no clarity if the defence pairing of Thomas Sweswe and Method Mwanjali is trusted to do the job in central defence through out the campaign.

The European and South African new season has just commenced, and it appears that Mwanjali is not a preferred starting defender at Mamelodi Sundowns. He has not even been considered for the right-back position vacated by Siboniso Gaxa who has since moved to Lierse in Belgium. Vuyo Mere is preferred as Gaxa's replacement.

Very soon calls will be made for Mapeza to consider recalling the ageless  Orlando Pirates veteran defender Zvenyika Makonese and Dickson Choto of Legia Warsaw in Poland,or even give a chance to a rising star, former Gunners central defender Carlington Nyadombo, now with Amazulu.

Mapeza's confidence in Arubi is quite interesting. The problem with Arubi is not that he does not have the talent. His major weakness is his inability to deal with crosses and lack of consistence, which is a result of poor concentration at times. 

Arubi's goalkeeping weaknesses will revive the debate on whether to recall Energy Murambadoro of Bidvest Wits or Tapuwa Kapini of Platinum Stars into the mix in the goalkeeping position. Alternatively Mapeza could have given preference in last night's match to a goalkeeper who is on top of his game currently, Tafadzwa Dube.

It is hoped that the abundance of talent in Zimbabwe should never become a problem, but a blessing to the coaches' ability to choose the best Warriors team based on current form of the players, which is not an easy thing for Mapeza to guage at the moment given the fact that the European new season has just started.

After the weekend's results, Cape Verde are sitting at the summit of Group A, followed by Zimbabwe ad Liberia. Zimbabwe's next assignment at home against Cape Verde on the 10th October will be very crucial to give the Warriors a strong footing in the 2012 campaign.

Only hosts Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, winners of the 11 qualifying groups, Group K runners-up and the best two second-placed teams from any of the eleven groups, will form the 16 teams which will appear at the 2012 AFCON finals. 

AFCON 2012 qualifiers 04-05/09/10 Weekend remaining results

Zambia 4-0 Comoros Islands

Mozambique 0-0 Libya

Ethiopia 1-4 Guinea

Nigeria 2-0 Madagascar

Morocco 0-0 Central Republic

DR Congo 2-4 Senegal

Gambia 3-0 Namibia

Egypt 1-1 Sierra Leone

Benin 1-1 Burundi

Sudan 2-0 Congo

Swaziland 0-3 Ghana

Tunisia 2-2 Malawi




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