BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
ZIMBABWE Under-23 coach Tonderai Ndiraya has blamed poor preparations for his side’s humiliating 5-0 defeat to neighbours South Africa in the first leg of their 2020 Tokyo Olympic play-off at Orlando Stadium on Friday night.
The crashing defeat came after a chaotic week for Zimbabwean football after the Mighty Warriors’ boycott of their Olympic qualifier at home and the Warriors’ shock defeat to minnows Somalia in a Fifa World Cup preliminary round first leg match in Mogadishu.
Ndiraya said the South Africans were better prepared than his charges who only trained as a team after arrival in South Africa on the eve of the match.
“It was a very difficult match for us,” Ndiraya said yesterday.
“Our opponents were better prepared for the match than us. We lost to a good team. All the goals we conceded could have been avoided.
“The boys tried their best, but it was difficult for them. We will motivate them for the second leg and see what happens. It will be difficult, but anything can happen in football.”
Well-taken first-half goals by Kabomelo Kodisang, Luther Singh and Teboho Mokoena put the home team comfortably ahead.
Then another by Singh and one from Lyle Foster — who also tallied up two assists — in the second half effectively ended Zimbabwe’s hopes of reaching the eight-nation Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt from November 8 to 22.
The three top-finishing teams in Egypt will represent the African continent at the Tokyo Olympics.
Singh completed his brace on the hour mark, with man-of-the-moment Kodisang providing a great assist to his fellow Portugal-based striker.
Foster killed the match as a contest in the 66th minute by tapping home a cheeky backheel pass he received inside the box from SuperSport United’s in-form midfielder Sipho Mbule.
South Africa now seem assured of a win in the tie even before the ball has been kicked in the second leg to be played at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Tuesday while Zimbabwe will be battling to restore some lost pride on home soil after the away