"Let us respect the fans…" – Mapeza

HARARE - The 3-1 loss hurt worse than the three points dropped in yesterday's Qatar 2022 Group G World Cup qualifier at Cape Coast stadium because the performance was hearty, catchy and at times spell binding.
Hope Chizuzu, Sports Reporter

HARARE – The 3-1 loss hurt worse than the three points dropped in yesterday’s Qatar 2022 Group G World Cup qualifier at Cape Coast stadium because the performance was hearty, catchy and at times spell binding. That the fans who include coaches, professors and government officials are unhappy is understandable. 

“Let us respect the fans, they are very important to the national team. I totally understand their disappointment because they wanted a win. 

“And the win was very much achievable yet as a coach I need to be real and honest to say, we conceded very soft goals. 

“At this level of competition, you get punished. Singling out a player or players for the defensive laity is being unkind because the same boys wanted the win more than we can imagine. 

“Give the fans the wins, that is all they want from us because they give a lot to support us. But we can do better. 

“We are already fixated on Harare match on Tuesday with a plan to continue to improve because the performance was definitely good and those little margins cost us the match,” coach Norman Mapeza told The Page as they boarded a plane to Addis Ababa from Accra en route to Harare. 

The team touches down Harare on Monday at 1235hrs, with no time for any training ahead of the Tuesday match against the same opponents. Mapeza, true to his character took responsibility for the result.

“We just had to be more solid and not allow Ghana to play. When we are compact, we are strong. 

“You saw how we managed to contain them in moments we had the drive. The players need to wise up to such expectations,” he added. 

Warriors loss was down to those soft goals, which sadly had marks of Tendai Darikwa struggling with his game in defence. 

Darikwa knows as well as the rest of the team that he could have done better than that. Even if the coach refused to blame him, he was culpable. However, Darikwa will not be available for the return match as he has returned to England to fix his personal business.

Otherwise the rest of the squad are in transit to Harare. ZIFA needed to have prepared better for the tie because the advance party of Liberty Mateveke slept on duty. He didn’t plan or arrange all the necessities for such a big match. 

Mateveke should have booked the training grounds, so that at least the boys would have trained from the time they arrived and not the chaos that ensued. 

He should have made ready everything and advised on the conditions and weather on the ground. He did none and the result was lost hours of preparation. That affected some key players and even the late arrival for Brendan Galloway and Teenage Hadebe suffered because they arrived after key drills for the match were done. 

The moment we learnt of the heat and punishing humidity in Cape Coast, acclimatization became key weapon for success. The team was supposed to have had all their preps in Cairo as did Ghana who also had players from Europe and elsewhere in need of acclimatizing. 

The Warriors should just have travelled latest two days before, play their match and return. The fatigue that we saw plaguing Jordan Zemura and Perfect Chikwende, who were tasked to offer width, pace and attacking threat, could have been avoided. 

Zimbabwe were surprised by the pace of Ghana as Mohammed Kudus at times looked unplayable.

Such eventualities saw Marvelous Nakamba and Thabani Kamusoko struggling for poise. That left Kelvin Madzongwe night shifting alone, ploughing a solo furrow, a weakness the opponents capitalized on by opening an avenue and overloading the Chikwende channel. 

No prize for guessing why all the goals came via that terminus. They used the overload well yet we struggled to plug that hole largely because Marshal Munetsi looked rattled and Darikwa out of sorts. There was nothing Washington Arubi could have done to keep out the goals.

Zimbabwe performance was so improved that a simple tweak of the side on Tuesday will yield a win. 

At least Khama Billiat is available for selection again after serving his suspension. Hadebe and Galloway can be thrown in at the outset, although Nakamba could be a risky start.

He has not been “available” in most Warriors matches, so glaring that I wish Deco Phiri was still available. Chaibrasha Kante style chimunhu chiye.

In moments like these I miss the boy. I laughed at some fans suggesting Mapeza be fired and yet it took 14 agonizing matches for Loga to win once. 

Bhora harina kuchipa iri chero beer waakutoda vaccination card kupinda mubhaleki but Zim is in safe hands for now albeit in the interim. 

  • Hope Chizuzu is an investigative journalist based in Harare. He can be contacted on Twitter @Hchizuzu or WhatsApp +263715001628
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