BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
WARRIORS captain Alec Mudimu feels that the country’s senior national football team let the country down after succumbing to a humiliating defeat against Africa’s lowest-ranked team Somalia in a 2022 Fifa World Cup preliminary round qualifier in Djibouti on Thursday.
Anwar Sidali Shaunda’s late header gave the Somalis, who were under a lot of pressuAre for most of the match, an unlikely victory which sent shock waves in the football world.
Mudimu, who took over the captaincy from Knowledge Musona, urged his teammates to repay the Zimbabwean fans in the return leg on Tuesday.
“I felt we started the game very well, but we failed to score goals. So, we only let ourselves down, not only ourselves, but the nation as well. I feel that we are back at home and we have a big advantage to win,” the Wales-based defender said.
“It’s been very difficult for our fans and fellow countrymen and women, especially after Afcon.
“I urge the fans to continue supporting the national team. It’s not been easy and I pray the fans continue to support us in huge numbers.
“We have received so much love even after the defeat against Somalia and now it’s up to the team to repay the fans by winning the second leg.”
The Warriors have been subjected to ridicule and came under heavy criticism from football fans after the loss to Somalia.
Zimbabwe host Somalia in the second leg of the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers in a bid to progress to the group stages of the qualifiers.
Only the bottom 28 teams on the CAF ranking are playing in the preliminary round.
Mudimu is confident that Zimbabwe will rise from the Djibouti setback and progress to the next stage of qualification.
“It’s not easy to take results like this to the chin, but all credit to Somalia. But we are professional players and we have to learn to move on and move on quick and win the next game, what being a professional footballer is all about,” he said.
“I am sure Somalia will come with their tactics and their plan for the game, but we will stick to our game plan as well.
“We will fight back and continue to fight, so I feel there is enough fight in the team. There is enough talent and hard-working players to push us through over the line,” Mudimu said.