Warriors suffer nightmare in Orlando

07 Jun, 2024 - 18:06 0 Views
Warriors suffer nightmare in Orlando



 ZIMBABWE were casual and they paid dearly for it, in the process losing significant ground after this 2026 World Cup qualifying defeat at Orlando Stadium yesterday.

The Warriors were the home team and they enjoyed tremendous support as thousands of Zimbabweans based here turned out to  support them. But despite bossing the stands and deploying a much stronger-on-paper team, Zimbabwe came short.

They needed to win this match to remain solidly in the race for their maiden qualification for the World Cup but they were not as detailed as the Crocodiles.

Despite starting brightly, the Jairos Tapera charges couldn’t really stamp their authority and they were dead and almost buried inside the opening half an hour through strikes by Rethabile Rasethuntusa and Jane Thabantso.

It is a game they would look at and probably curse themselves for not doing enough in all departments.

With raucous support from the stands buoying them, the Warriors looked sharp inside the opening 15 minutes with Tino Kadewere and Jordan Zemura especially impressive.

The Zimbabwean reaguard of Gerald Takwara and Teenage Hadebe looked shaky though and they were always going to disappoint.

In their first foray forward, Lesotho won a corner, the first of the game, after Takwara had been outsprinted on the left flank before he conceded the setpiece.

Again the defensive work wasn’t enough with goalkeeper Donovan Bernard failing to cut the ball which then fell on the loitering Rasethuntusa who then turned it in.

The Warriors tried to respond almost instantly but captain Marshal Munetsi’s stinging freekick was smoothered out by Lesotho goalkeeper Thabang Malene.

Debutant Tawanda Chirewa, impressive throughout the first phase then rattled the crossbar from inside the box with 30 minutes on the clock.

That raised the hopes of Zimbabweans but hardly a minute later, those hopes were up in smoke as Lesotho doubled their lead after Hadebe and Takwara were caught at sixes and sevens.

Tapera made changes two minutes after the break bringing in Tawanda Maswanhise and Tymon Machope for Zemura and Kadewere respectively as he sought to salvage something from the encounter.

While the game stabilised with Munetsi and Devine Lunga trying to put something together but Lesotho were tactically sound enough to absorb everything thrown at them.

It could have been worse but Bernard saved ensured that the carnage was limited after coming out on top in a one versus one situation.

Machope could have given the Warriors a consolation goal, in a spectacular way, but his bicycle kick crashed against the post with five minutes before time.

Zimbabwe now anchor Group C standings on two points from three games and now need to win against South Africa in Bloemfontein on Tuesday to ensure they stay in the race for qualification for the global showpiece.

Tapera was a disappointed lot after the result. “I am very disappointed with the result. We conceded two soft goals due to defensive blunders in the first half,” said Tapera.

“It was a bad first half but my boys played well in the second half and I am very happy with that performance.

“It’s a game of football but we needed to respond and win the match.

“I am not disrespecting Lesotho but we ough to beat them given what we have in terms of personnel as compared to them.”

The Warriors will however need to dust up and prepare for the match against South Africa who were scheduled to play Nigeria last night.



Donovan Benard, Andrew Mbeba, Devine Lunga, Gerald Takwara, Teenage Hadebe, Marshal Munetsi, Jordan Zemura (Tawanda Maswanhise 47min) Andy Rinomhota, Tawanda Maswanhise, Tawanda Chirewa (Walter Musona 69min), Tino Kadewere (Tymon Machope 47min)


Thabang Malene, Thabo Matsoele, Rethabile Rasethuntusa, Thabo Makhale, Lisema Lebokollane, Tsepang Sefali, Motebang Sera (Teboho Letsema 81min) Lehlonolo Fothoane (Tsepo Toloane 63min) Lehlohonolo Matsau(Jane Thabantso  63min)

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