Young Warriors date SA in final

Sports Reporter
Zambia….(1) 1
Zimbabwe…(1) 2
ZIMBABWE’S Young Warriors stormed into the finals of the MOPANI Copper Mines Under-20 Championships yesterday when they edged hosts Zambia 2-1 in a tightly-contested match at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe. The Under-20 side bounced back from a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Angola on Sunday in their final group C game, in which coach Bekithemba Ndlovu rested most of his key players since they had already secured a place in the semi-finals after beating Botswana and Lesotho.

The Young Warriors came from behind to emerge victorious after Zambia took the lead in the 37th minute when Prince Mumba headed in the ball from a Lameck Banda cross.

But the hosts’ joy was short-lived as Andrew Mbeba equalised for Zimbabwe a minute later when Zambia’s goalkeeper Bradley Mweene dropped the ball at his feet.

The two teams went into the break tied 1-1. But it was Zimbabwe who came out the better side in the second half when Delic Murimba’s shot inside the box found the back of the net in the 70th minute to take his tally at this competition to four goals.
Zimbabwe face defending champions South Africa in the decider tomorrow at the same venue.

It’s a strong come back for the side that has struggled in the last two editions, failing to go beyond the group stages and Ndlovu was full of praise for his charges for a job well done.

“I think I am happy with the victory, it’s a very sweet victory against the host nation Zambia. It’s always not easy playing the host and Zambia are a very good team, either of us could have gone to the final.

“I think today maybe luck was on our side and we managed to beat Zambia but they are not a bad team, they are not a bad side. They gave us very good competition, we fought for the victory and I am happy for my boys they put up a good show,” said Ndlovu.

Tatenda Tumba was voted man of the match yesterday. It’s the second time at this tournament and the Harare City player stands in line to win the player of the tournament award if Zimbabwe prevail over South Africa in the final.

South Africa reached the finals when they beat Angola 1-0. Lyle Brent Foster was on target for Amajita in the 27th minute to secure their place in tomorrow’s decider.

Interestingly both countries are amongst the most successful teams having won the tournament six times each and will be going for the seventh title tomorrow.

Zimbabwe’s last title came in 2007 when they beat South Africa 3-0 in the final. But in the last two years — 2016 and 2017 they bowed out of the tournament in the group stages. On the other hand South Africa would want to prove that their victory last year was no fluke when they meet Zimbabwe tomorrow, looking to defend the championship. In 2016 they went all the way to the final but lost to Zambia.

Charles Chisala Bwale blamed the defeat on his defence as he felt they could have done better.
“The game I think Zimbabwe started on a fast note and we were a bit sluggish. Also if I look at the time we scored I think it took maybe a minute again for them to equalise. I think if we look at that goal I think it’s something we would have dealt with and also look at the second I think we just gifted Zimbabwe those two goals.

“I think my defence was a bit shaky otherwise they put up a good fight.
“Definitely and maybe coming to the last game of the tournament I need also maybe to expose some other players. Definitely we need to fight again,” said Bwale.

Zambia will take on Angola in the third and fourth play-off.
The final and the third and fourth play-off were initially slated for Friday at Nkana Stadium but the matches were brought forward due to a fixture clash with the Nkana venue now being used for a CAF Champions League fixture.

Zambia: B. Mweene, A. Phiri, P. Mumba (A. Kangwanda 83rd minute), G. Miyanda, K. Hakwiya, O. Lumbiya, L. Banda (E. Mwiinde 75th minute), B. Kolala, C. Katongo, E. Chilufiya, K. Kangwa.
Zimbabwe: T. Ali, E. Jalai, B. Mpofu, L. Jani, T. Tumba, D. Mhindirira, D. Murimba (T. Muringani 82nd minute), B. Nyamuzihwa, T. Mkunga, A. Mbeba, T. Chiunye (C. Rupiya 45th minute).

Source: The Herald

Check Also

Zimbabwe: Clubless Warriors Trio Still Looking for a Home

By Eddie Chikamhi THREE Zimbabwe internationals, including Warriors vice-captain Ovidy Karuru, are still guessing where …

This function has been disabled for Zimbabwe Today.