ZIMBABWE’S Young Warriors put up a gallant fight, against a strong Morocco senior national team, despite losing this friendly international here last night. The Young Warriors turned on a strong defensive show, against their more experienced opponents, with goalkeeper Bernard Donavan impressive between the posts as they stood, toe-to-toe, against their opponents for long periods in the match.
The hosts fielded a number of Europe-based professionals, including Mourane Chamarkh, who plays for English Premiership side Crystal Palace.
The visitors even grabbed the lead, in the first half, when England-based forward, Macauley Bonne, playing his first match for the Young Warriors, fired them ahead with a beauty of a goal.
Bonne, one of the two England-based forwards thrust into the starting XI, with Northampton forward David Moyo also finding a slot in the team, found space down the right side of the channel and then showed great technique to push the ball home past the legs of Moroccan ‘keeper Bounou Yassine.
It was a beautiful goal and a good starting point for the journey by the 19-year-old forward who chose to play for Zimbabwe, having been born in England, although he would have qualified to pursue a career with the Three Lions.
Bonne, who has played for Ipswich Town, celebrated wildly, and he had every reason to do so, after a good goal in the gold colours of the Warrriors, and will be inspired his first show for his fatherland on foreign soil.
The teenage forward thrust the Young Warriors ahead after 18 minutes and the team held on, for large parts of the match, and the Moroccans struggled to break them down, thanks to a good defensive show.
Morocco equalised in the 62nd minute when Assaidi Oussama side footed the ball home, pushing his effort beyond Donovan, after some good exchange of passes by the hosts.
The hosts were then awarded a penalty, in the 76th minute, and Jajour Mohssine stroke the ball home from the spot, firing a diving Donovan with the pace of the strike beating the impressive young ‘keeper.
Morocco coach Ezaki Badou said Zimbabwe made life very difficult for his team.
“They gave us a good game, they were organised in defence and they were very difficult to break down,” said Badou.
Morocco: Bounou Yassine, Maroune Da Costa, Lazaar Achraf, El Khaliqi, El Ahmadi Karim, Ait Ben Ider Jamel, El Kaddouri Omar, El Adoua Issam, Chachoum Atif, Hamed allah Abderrazzak, Mourane Chamakh.
Zimbabwe: Bernard Donavan, Blessing Moyo, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Douglas Sibanda, Teenage Hadebe, Charles Mukanhairi, Carlos Rusere, Pritchard Mpelele, David Moyo, Gabriel Nyoni, Macauley Bonne.