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Date: 21 July 2017

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Warriors finally beat Bafana

[Posted 16 Nov 2011]
[By Beezsports Editor]
Warriors finally beat Bafana

An experimental Zimbabwe Warriors side had to come from behind to avoid blushes at home against an equally experimental South African Bafana Bafana team, to eventually win 2-1 at Rufaro Stadium last night, ending an 8-year barren period in which the Warriors failed to beat Bafana.

Norman Mapeza made not less than five changes to the Warriors side, deciding to bench regulars and give fringe players like right-back Tapuwa Khumbuyani, Kaizer Chiefs' left back Zhaimu "Jimmy" Jambo, and defender Lincoln Zvasiya plus Willard Katsande who have been inactive at Chiefs for the past two months, as well as giving a run out for Dynamos' striker Cuthbert Malajila.

Regulars who were benched include Moroka Swallows defender Gilbert Mapemba, Belgium-based Vusa Nyoni, locally-based steely defender Daniel Veremu and Mamelodi Sundowns' in-form striker Nyasha Mushekwi, who was the second highest scorer in the ABSA premiership last season.

Most of the players who participated in the 2012 AFCON qualifiers who were completely rested by Zimbabwe include captain Method Mwanjali, Denmark-based Quincy Antipas, CAF 2011 African Player of the Year nominee and Golden Boot winner Edward Sadomba of Al-Hilal in Sudan, fit-again Onismor Bhasera of Plymouth Argyle in England, Sundowns' Simba Sithole and Noel Kaseke of Cypriot champions Omonia Nicosia. 

Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane had left behind eight regulars back home in South Africa, and brought only three foreign-based players like Daylon Classen, defender Bevan Fransman and Bradley Grobler, plus other regular squad members like Kermit Erasmus, stand-in captain Morgan Gould, Teko Modise, Moneeb Josephs, Thanduyise Kubhoni, Oupa Manyisa and Hlompo Kekana.

It is therefore not entirely true that the Zimbabwe squad was at full strength, while the Bafana squad had rookies. On paper, the two teams were balanced.

The Warriors started off brightly, knocking the ball around beautifully, but without causing any anxious moments for the South African defence which was well-marchalled by stand-in captain Gould and Israeli-based Fransman.

It was against the run of play that Bafana scored.

Modise, who was not as tightly marked in midfield as he should have been, found space and time deep in midfield to make a telling pass to Grobler. Zvasiya appeared to have cthe ball covered, only to theatrically fall in the box, allowing the Turkey-based striker to easily score past a stranded Tapuwa Kapini in the 28th minute.

The Zimbabwean strikers continued to be frustrated by lack of incisive passes from midfield and from the tight marking by Gould and the Bafana defence despite Zim enjoying possession for much of the first half.

Khama Billiat missed Zimbabwe's best chance of the first half, skying his effort in the box after he was set up beautifully by Knowledge Musona after some fancy foot-work on the left side.

Earlier, Katsande had made several attempts at goal from a distance, as the Zimbabweans almost failed to penetrate the resolute Bafana defence.

The Warriors came a much rejuvenated side in the second half, and Musona showed his class by banging in a quick-fire brace to wrestle the match away from the visiting team.

Khumbuyani, very useful down the right flank for much of the night, charged down the right channel following a swift move by the Warriors. His cross was superbly headed in for an equaliser by an alert Musona in the 53rd minute.

The TSG Hoffenheim striker returned to torment Bafana defence in the 60th minute when, alert as ever, he dispossesed Fransman who appeared not to fully understand the danger that the former Chiefs man posses. The Smiling Assasin then charged towards goal and immaculately slotted the ball past a drawn out Josephs.

Surprisingly Zimbabwe appeared content with a simple 2-1 lead and it was disappointing to see keeper Kapini playing delaying tactics even in a friendly match.

Coach Mapeza saw an opportunity to make four changes, taking off Tinashe Nengomasha earlier in the 2nd half, replacing him with Amazulu's Ramson Zhuwawo. Denver Mukamba, Archieford Gutu and Gilbert Mapemba followed thereafter, replacing Billiat, Ovidy Karuru and Musona respectively.

After Zim took the foot off the pedal, Bafana attempted to crawl back into the game,  and Teko appeared to have been allowed too much room in midfield, easily exchanging passes with Erasmus, whose close ball control appeared to give the Zimbabweans a torrid time on the night.

The match ended 2-1 in favour of the Warriors, and out of a total of 12 matches between the two sides thus far, Bafana still lead their arch-rivals in the COSAFA block, having won 6 matches, compared to the Warriors' 5. A single match has been drawn between the sides. 

The match was a good workout for both teams, as it helped showcase new talent and exposed serious gaps, particularly in the Warriors' team.

The Bafana youngsters were by no means embarrased by the defeat. They acquitted themselves very well, threatening to run away with the match after they took the lead.

The Warriors could have done much better, and the only thing which appeared to be uppermost in their minds is to finally beat South Africa after an 8-year wait.

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