The FC Hoffeinheim striker hit the net four minutes into the second half, and in the 61st minute as he cancelled out Turkish based Bradley Grobbler’s 29th minute to give Zimbabwean fans something to smile about following the disappointment that came with the Warriors failure to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations.
While critics are pointing out that there is nothing to gloat about the Zimbabwean victory as it was over a Bafana Bafana side missing nine regulars, the win coming on a Fifa calendar date will help improve Zimbabwe’s world and African rankings which plummeted following that surprise 2-1 African Cup of Nations defeat by Cape Verde.
Zimbabwe are at the moment in 74th position having been on 66th before the Cape Verde defeat but South Africa are highly rated something that could see Zimbabwe make giant steps up the ladder following the victory at Rufaro
Zimbabwe were using the Bafana friendly as part of their build up for the 2013 African Cup of Nations finals as well as the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, and coach Norman Mapeza could have learnt one or two things in his build up for the future.
Mapeza will be the first to admit that his strikers Musona and Cuthbert Malajila did not receive that much needed service from the midfield as Tinashe Nengomasha, Willard Katsande, Khama Billiart and Ovidy Karuru were dormant the whole of the first half only to come awake and for that matter in flashes in the second half.
He will, however, be pleased with players he gave a first team run, Tapiwa Khumbuyani, Zhaimu Jambo, and Lincoln Zvasiya who played their hearts out in defence despite Zvasiya’s only blemish of the afternoon which gifted the South Africans their goal.
The South African who did not have the chance to train at the match venue after a power blackout before their training session Monday evening gave a good account of themselves with delightful passing and spreading the game all over the pitch.
The mourning face of the underfire Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane after the game told how much he wanted to win the match as he seeks to appease his country’s soccer fans following his team’s heavily criticised failure to make the 2012 Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
This was Bafana Bafana’s fourth visit to Zimbabwe having first been to the National Sports Stadium way back in 1991 under the coaching guidance of Stanley ‘Screamer’ Tshabalala.
That team which played Shu-Shine Piano type of football and boasted of the prodigious talents of the likes of Doctor Khumalo, among others, was massacred 4-1 by the Warriors.
Then South Africa were again in Harare at the same venue in 2000 for a World Cup qualifier which Bafana Bafana won 2-0 but that game is mostly remembered for the horrific stampede that killed 13 soccer fans after South Africa had scored their second goal through Delroy Buckley.
South Africa were in Zimbabwe for the third time in 2008 for an African Nations Championship qualifier which the Warriors under Sunday Chidzambwa won 2-0.
As Mapeza reflects on the South African game, he will also look forward to the future knowing pretty well that it was a match that gave his team good match practice and the chance to look at the weaknesses of his squad.