The Young Warriors beat Zambia 3-2 courtesy of a brace by Simba Sithole before Denver Mukamba put the lid, but they have to guard their fort when they collide with Zambia in the return leg in the capital in a fortnight to progress to the first round.
The Young Warriors have failed to qualify for the last two All Africa Games tournaments after Zambia and Mozambique eliminated them on the road to the 2003 and 2007 events respectively.
In 2003, Zambia eliminated Zimbabwe on the away-goals rule after a 1-0 return leg win in Lusaka following an earlier 2-1 defeat in Harare. Seven places are up for grabs in the qualifying series for both men and women aside hosts, Mozambique. The All Africa Games will be held in Maputo in September this year.
Twenty-seven countries are involved in the men’s qualifiers with each team from each of the seven zones grabbing a ticket for the final tournament. Zone VI dominated by countries within the Cosafa region has the largest number of teams in contention for the solitary slot.
They are Angola, Botswana , Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe .
Zimbabwe’s best performance in the All Africa Games was finishing runners-up during the 1995 edition when the country hosted while Zambia lost to Cameroon on penalties four years later in South Africa. Cameroon have emerged gold winners a record four times (1991, 1999, 2003, 2007), with Egypt trailing on two occasions in 1987 and 1995.