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Date: 24 April 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Zim lose to Zebras: Mapeza, ZIFA Must up the tempo

[Posted 05 Aug 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Zim lose to Botswana in friendly match, ZIFA must arrange better friendlies

The Zebras of Botswana got an opportunity last night to avenge defeats they have suffered in the two teams' last two meetings when they beat Zimbabwe 2-0 in Selibe Phikwe during a friendly match.

Zimbabwe's locally-based Warriors paid for lack of match fitness and failure to take their chances in last night's friendly match.

Botswana, a resurgent outfit following their surprise defeat of Tunisia away recently, clearly dominated the first half. Striker Mokgathi Mokgathi scored the hosts' first goal in the 9th minute from a Boitumelo Mafoko’s cross from the left. Edmore Sibanda could have easily prevented the goal if he had cut the cross from the left.

Jerome Ramatlhakwane punished Zimbabwe again in the 14th minute when another silly blunder by Sibanda who failed once again to hold onto what appeared a routine cross, gifted the Zebras player with a chance to score the hosts' easy 2nd goal.

Coach Norman Mapeza reacted by pulling the CAPS goalkeeper off after the Zebras' second goal and brought in Tafadzwa Dube. Sibanda had such a bad day on duty last night.

The Warriors had their fair chances to either pull one back or even force a draw last night. Veteran striker Norman Maroto wasted a chance after being set up by Zephaniah Ngodzo in the 16th minute. He headed Ngodzo's delivery way over the bar.

Zimbabwe continued to seek for a goal, especially after the first 20 minutes in the opening half. Qadir Amin  forced a good save from Zebras' keeper Modiri Marumo in the 40th minute from an out-of the box strike.

The visitors took the game to the hosts in the second half, where a good number of players put up good performances. Willard Katsande and Elvis Meleka showed some good combination, an understanding they have built at Gunners this season.

Several other changes in the second half improved things for the Warriors. Daniel Kamunhenga, Gilbert Mapemba and Martin Vengesayi  came in to replace Charles Chiutsa, Ngodzo and Bhekimpilo Ncube. Zimbabwe closed down the flanks where Botswana had found channels of attack.

Charles Sibanda and Norman Maroto took turns to miss agonisingly for the Warriors, with the the former's effort crashing against the bar in the 77th minute, while Maroto narrowly missed in the 80th minute.

Both coaches were pleased with their teams' performances.

"We played very well and our opponents also gave us a good game. We keep on improving our game and we now look forward to the Malawi game," said Zebras' coach Stanley Tsotsane after the match.

Mapeza tried to hide his disappointment though.

"The boys played well and I am happy with the way we turned the game around especially in the last 20 minutes of the first half and in the second half", Mapeza said after the match.

In the clearest of hints that the Warriors might not have a friendly match on 11 August, Mapeza spoke about an anticipated match on the 17th August.

"We have asked the national association to organise another friendly so that we look at other players. By the time the international players come before the Afcon qualifier we must be somewhere with the local guys so that we fuse well," said Mapeza.

It is questionable how such a friendly will help Mapeza fully prepare for the opening 2012 AFCON qualifiers for a number of reasons.

Most of the players who have featured for the Warriors in the CHAN qualifiers, were not part of the friendly match against Botswana last night. Such players have been the most likely of the local players to contest for a place in the Warriors AFCON squad against foreign-based Warriors.

Nyasha Mushekwi, Lionel Mtizwa, Method Mwanjali, Tafadzwa Rusike, Mthulisi Maphosa, Chris Semakweri, Asani Nhongo, are now playing out of the country and were part of the all conquering band of local players who won the COSAFA Cup in November last year.

Other players who were part of that squad were not available to play for the Warriors for various reasons. They include Cuthbert Malajila, Evans Gwekwerere, Benjamin Marere, George Magariro, George Kaimupfupi and reigning footballer of the year Ramson Zhuwawo.

Now 13 of the players who were the brightest lights in the local league to really challenge for a place against the experienced foreign-based players were not available for selection last night, and are unlikely to be available on the 17th August which does not fall on FIFA date for friendly matches. How helpful will such a friendly be for Norman Mapeza?

Mapeza should be trying to monitor the progress and form of his players particularly in South Africa where probably more than 50% of his squad will come from. If possible, he should be at the Soccer City to watch the Telkom Charity Cup on Saturday.

Several Warriors players will take part in the Charity Cup this weekend. Sundowns will certainly parade their three new acquisitions from CAPS, plus a fourth Zimbabwean who is captain of the team. Mushekwi, Mwanjali, Mtizwa and Nyandoro will turn out for Downs.

Kaizer Chiefs will have three Zimbabweans taking part in the PSL season-opener. Striking sensation Knowledge Musona, who recently won the Jet Club Rookie of the year award, defenders Thomas Sweswe and Zhaimu Jambo will take part in the tournament this weekend.

Orlando Pirates are home to veteran defender Zvenyika Makonese. The former Santos and Shabanie FC defender was in out-standing form last season.

A total of eight Warriors players will be part of the opening matches of the South African PSL, and Mapeza is best advised to really focus on such developments.

Perhaps what the Warriors' caretaker coach ought to do is to ask ZIFA to arrange a day or two's camp in South Africa before the team flies out to Liberia.There are other players in SA like Rusike, Oscar Machapa, Kingston Nkhatha, Energy Murambadoro, Obert Moyo,Tapuwa Kapini and Terrence Mandaza who will bring the total of serious contenders for a place in the Warriors team to about fifteen. 

Prudence demands that Mapeza should focus his energies on the SA contigent which forms the nucleus of his team. Building relations with coaches in the SA PSL should be his number one priority. Surely the Zimbabwean PSL will contribute nomore than four players to the final Warriors squad.

Apart from the SA pool, Mapeza has to also trace developments of Europe-based and other foreign based players.

Our soccer exports like Takesure Chinyama, Noel Kaseke, Dickson Choto, Cephas Chimedza, Mkhokheli Dube, Tinashe Nengomasha, Joseph Ngwenya, Ovidy Karuru, Vusa Nyoni, Quincy Antipas, Onismor Bhasera, Justice Majabvi, Mike Temwanjira and Musa Mguni have been involved in their respective clubs' pre-season tune-up friendly matches. 

Working out a fusion plan for the South African-based, a trickle from home and the over-seas-based stars should occupy Mapeza's preparations plan. The best place to start surely should be where the bulk of the players are to be found, just across the Limpopo.



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