Warriors Bounce Back In Afcon

The Warriors had to play for much of the duration with 10 men after Willard Katsande was shown his marching orders for head butting an opponent. He will miss the remaining two Afcon matches.

It was Knowledge Musona’s 36th minute strike that tied the aggregate scores at 2-2 following the Warriors 2-1 defeat in Bujumbura in February. The Zimbabweans sail through on the away goals rule that Musona scored in the first leg in Bujumbura.

The Zimbabweans will now have to wait for a draw by the Confederation of African Football to know who their opponents in the final qualifying match would be.

The Zimbabweans will face one of the teams that were at the 2012 Nations Cup in Gabon and the Equatorial Guinea.

Coach Rahman Gumbo said he was not afraid even if it meant facing Africa’s top ranked team the Elephants of the Ivory Coast or the Black Stars of Ghana.

According to Caf, the 14 winners from qualifiers including Zimbabwe, will join the 16 teams that played in Afcon 2012 in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. This will make it 30 teams to be drawn for the final round, the first leg of which is to be played on the weekend of 7-9 September.

The second leg will be staged on the weekend of 12-14 October where the teams that will make the journey to South Africa will be determined.

But before Gumbo dreams of tackling such formidable opponents as Ghana and the Ivory Coast, he has to do something with his striking force which has developed a too much reliance on Musona.

Musona is the only player who has scored in every game that Zimbabwe has managed to score in the past few games, raising questions as to what will happen to the team should the German based striker be not available.

He scored in the October game against Cape Verde, then against Burundi in Bujumbura and now against Burundi at the National Sports Stadium. Zimbabwe has failed to score in the 1-0 loss against Guinea and in the goalless draw against Mozambique simply because Musona was not able to find the target.

Gumbo has hinted that he needs at least one or two international friendly matches before the Nations Cup qualifiers resume in September. The World Cup matches in which Zimbabwe are still to play Egypt are on a break and will only kick off the ground in March next year.

The supporters, though, did not respond positively to the game against Burundi as less than 25 000 fans were at the stadium compared to the more than 40 000 who were at the same venue when the Warriors took on Guinea in a World Cup qualifier three weeks ago.