Warriors bounce back to defeat Burundi
Zimbabwe booked a place in the last qualifying stage of 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations finals with a slender 1-0 win over Burundi. Warriors’ win on the day left the two sides tied on 2-2 aggregate score line but Zimbabwe progressed through on away goals rule after losing 2-1 in the first leg match played in February in Burundi.
At Harare’s National Stadium both teams started positively looking for the opening goal but it was the home side that carved out the early chances . The game was quite physical and twenty minutes into the game the hosts were reduced to ten men when Willard Katsande was red carded for a foul on Burundi’s Papy Faty. Not long after that, home striker Knowledge Musona beat a couple of defenders to score what would turn out to be the only goal of the match safely.
The Swallows upped their attack as the Warriors strengthened their defence. No substitutions were made in the first half but fresh players were introduced in the second half as both teams replaced their strike force to try and add a goal, which would see them advance into the next round of the competition. Needing an equaliser to boost their qualification chances Burundi clearly put intense pressure on the Zimbabwean defence, with Zimbabwe’s Esrom Nyandoro kept very busy by Floribert Ndayisaba and Cedric Amissi, who were clearly out to level the score. There were shots at goals from both sides with goalkeepers Tapiwa Kapini and Janvier Ndikumana called upon to make saves as both sides threatened to score.
In the end hosts, Zimbabwe managed to hang on to that slender win and bring some respite on their fans after a loss and a draw from their last two matches in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers played recently. There was evident relief and joy for the players, crowd and technical team when the final whistle was blown.
POST MATCH REACTION : Zimbabwe vs Burundi
Zimbabwe coach: Rahman Gumbo
“We are so relieved! This is a welcome win and we are proud of the way the boys played. We knew it was not going to be an easy game and you could see that tension was high on both sides by the physical and fast pace nature of the game. Burundi is a good side and we are happy that at least we achieved a win at home. Our main strategy was of course to make sure we got an early goal, and we managed to do that. I feel we could have scored more goals with so many shots at goals, never the less we are happy with the end result and look forward to see who we get in the next stage.”
Burundi coach: LOFTY NESEEM
“This was a very good match, yes we lost, we are naturally disappointed but we played our best. Zimbabwe gave us a tough time as they had a good defence but we are guilty of not capitalising on the chances that we had in front of the goals. We now know where we need to look to for improvement, it was altogether not a very bad game, but we could have done better.”
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
REGULATIONS / PUBLICATIONSCAF Statutes