THE Young Warriors began the Cosafa Championship run on a disappointing note when they lost their opening group match 2-3 at the hands of Swaziland in Mauritius yesterday. Swaziland scored the winner four minutes before full-time. The Young Warriors duo of forward Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya and midfielder John Bonomali got a goal each in the 60th and 65th minute. Coach Tafadzwa Mashiri said their failure to deal with set pieces resulted in the Swaziland winner.
“A very shaky and jittery start caused us to lose the game as we conceded in the early stages of the game. But we managed to regroup with a good second half and, save for the poor defending of a set piece which saw us concede a goal in the last five minutes, we could have got something from the match,” he said.
Zimbabwe will on Monday meet neighbours Malawi, who humiliated them 5-0 at the same stage in last year’s tournament. “We need to win our second match against Malawi for us to remain in the game,” he said.
The Young Warriors round up their Group C campaign with a match against Angola on Wednesday. And Mashiri would want to avoid a repeat of last year which saw the team returning home without a victory from the group stages.
In another Group C match, Angola beat Malawi 1-0. In Group B action, South Africa and Lesotho shared the spoils in a goalless draw. Today, Group A will stage their second matches with Botswana seeking victory against Seychelles to reach the semis.
The Young Zebras stunned hosts and last year’s finalists Mauritius 1-0 on the opening day. Mauritius will play a buoyant Namibia who thrashed Seychelles 8-3 on the first day of action.