Fate deals Warriors a heavy blow

Phillip Zulu Special Correspondent
OUR 1-1 draw with Uganda on Wednesday night in the African Cup of Nations Group A football match was an epic game of hope, determination and belief, but FATE was so monstrous and compounding in tormenting our convictions that a WIN is tenable and achievable.

Never has fate been so cruel and unforgivable to a nation that piously craves to reach the knock-out stages of this prestigious tournament for the first time ever.

Wednesday night’s show, the sum efforts and brilliant performances by our gallant Warriors were swayed and dealt a huge blow by fate — a predestination of negative forces that hold one’s chances of success or failure. Our destination was written all over our faces but the goalmouth drama of open goal misses and a voodoo-like ball not crossing the line some inches away, can only be a curse that needs exorcism without delay.

Whether our captain Knowledge Musona had been forewarned as he dabbled with Prophet TB Joshua in Nigeria last month, on reflection, how does Wednesday night’s game free our minds from the most disturbing NO GOAL nail-biting episodes after our equaliser?

Uganda had their game-plan intact and they did achieve their mission statement of the tournament when they upped the ante by getting an early goal from nowhere. The defensive naivety again showed up on Wednesday night when Devine Lunga, who had one touch far too many in his own defending territory, clumsily got entangled with an oncoming Ugandan midfielder who cleanly won the battle and diagonally slotted the ball wide into space for his spitfire winger who quickly covered the ground towards the edge of the box.

Our left sided central defender Teenage Hadebe was very slow to react in front of an oncoming Ugandan, the amount of space was massive and that was the slowest reaction any defender can make at this high level of top continental football and, as he kept drifting backwards instead of lunging forward to try and reduce the ever-widening gap and try to block a cross, the shot had all the predictions of a goal as it was poorly parried towards the penalty spot by George Chigova.

One defensive lapse, one goal in the earliest stage of the game and this worked well for the Ugandans. But we never lost our mojo as we quickly trooped back into play with more vigour and courage as waves of incessant attacks pounded their defence with less success.

Musona was largely mobile, running in-between the defence lines causing all sorts of problems but FATE, had its day over all his exploits and the rest of his teammates. A through ball by Khama Billiat into space on the far side of the defence towards the edge of the box saw two defenders mix up with our captain who wriggled out of the melee with such delicacy, retaining the ball on his favoured right foot and the goalkeeper in total confusion, he blazed it high in the sky as whether the gods of the Pharaohs had requested it higher up in the apexes of inch-perfect Pyramids.

This was hard to swallow, Billiat had a similar episode on the far side when he quickly robbed a poor touch from Ovidy Karuru and laced a left-footer far too hastily without composure.

Our midfield was intact, mobile and responsive in all the expectations of the contest unfolding. Thabani Kamusoko shone brightly, Danny “Deco” Phiri was athletic and holding his territory with efficiency, while Karuru was animated.

Billiat was a class act but his loss of the Midas Touch factor in key moments of the game tormented us all. He lacked what every coach would cherish – Cool, Intelligence or Composure.

This was so glaring and painstaking, in the final third our decision making was too rushed and haphazard at times, the build up was good in most occasions but that extra intelligent instinct that commands one to desist the norm and sway an alternative thought pattern of the brain to go against the grain was in great demand as we missed chance after chance.

Tendayi Darikwa started a few wide build-ups but as soon as he cut inside, when everyone was expecting a cross and a line of attack has been built around the eighteen area, no single player ever dared to peel off and drop deep again to receive the ball to punish a high line of defending that was constantly applied by the Ugandans to frustrate us.

We became too emotional in critical areas of the game and lost our balance of thoughts and in the final third we went for power instead of composure. Musona and Billiat could have had hat-tricks apiece if they had allowed their COOL and COMPOSURE to preside.
We used one flank to attack with Lunga and that was hugely expected but, when you have had forays of endless shelling, goals never matched impressive performances that shone brightest to everyone watching the game on Wednesday night.

Leroy Roseinor a top commentator with Sky Sports was engrossed with Billiat’s deft touches and unpredictable swings when he gets the ball in delicate areas of the game, on the edge of the box as his first touch brought the ball back, inside away from the goal and left a sea of sprawling defenders sliding into one corner, he should have taken an extra touch and punished the Ugandans as he is capable of doing it.

Leroy Roseinor was full of praise, Billiat’s ability is beyond any doubt but that missing acumen of extra intelligence let him down badly. These are the moments that I always refer back to the old golden years gone by, had the late Archieford Chimutanda been in such situations, the world was going to have watched a GENIUS in Cairo.

Our next game against the DRC on Sunday night is still a must-win and hope that Egypt beat Uganda with a wide margin. We must have that extra intelligence, the composure to bury the ball in the nets clinically without too much dithering and haste. We definitely need a wide margin win against the Congolese and see what happens next.

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