Zimbabwe . . . . . . . (0) 1
Zambia . . . . . . . . . . 0
ZIMBABWE got their Gabon Africa Cup of Nations preparation off to a positive start with the locally-based Warriors players beating visitors Zambia by a single goal in a friendly match at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Chicken Inn defender Teenage Hadebe scored the only goal of an encounter in which the result meant very little as the match was meant to give the locally-based players an opportunity to gatecrash into coach Kalisto Pasuwa’s plans for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon.
Four regular locally-based national team players such as Tatenda Mukuruva, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Lawrence Mhlanga and Hadebe all made the starting line-up, while the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s top scorer Leonard Tsipa was given the chance to show his prowess in front of goal.
In the end Pasuwa said he was pleased to have had the opportunity to assess them.
“The fact that we played a game is good for us as the technical team. We were assessing some of the players and we wanted to see how some of these players perform in game situations,” he said.
“There are some players who do well in training, but are something else in matches but I think everybody did well today. We will sit down with the technical team to discuss the performances of the players today,” Pasuwa added.
Triangle FC winger Malvern Gaki is one player who impressed, causing all sorts of problems for the Zambians while other Warriors trialists like Ronald Pfumbidzai, Edwin Madhanhanga, substitute Talent Chawapiwa also gave a good account of themselves.
Tsipa could have nosed the hosts ahead after just six minutes, but he failed to direct his header on target following a Hardlife Zvirekwi cross.
Zimbabwe dominated the early parts of the first half, with the exciting Gaki causing all sorts of problems for the visitors.
It was only his final delivery that let him down on a number of occasions.
Zambia got stronger as the half wore on with attacker Fwayo Tembo seemingly the dangerman.
However, the central defence trio of Hadebe, Mhlanga and Pfumbidzai stood firm as the half ended in a stalemate.
The goal then came early in the second half.
Gaki was fouled on the far side and the captain of the day curled it beautifully into the box and Hadebe rose majestically to node home the opener.
Hwange striker Gift Mbweti was given his debut by Pasuwa, replacing an injured Gaki after the hour mark.
Zambia offered little in offense and Mukuruva who was later replaced by Benard Donvan were hardly tested.