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Zimbabwe in UK Afcon quarter finals

04/06/2014 00:00:00
by Sports Correspondent

THE Zimbabwe UK Diaspora national team is through to the quarterfinals of the 2014 UK African Nations Cup Tournament which kicked off last weekend in London.

The Warriors top Group A with nine points after beating Uganda and Tanzania with an identical 3-1 scoreline and dismissed neighbours South Africa 2-1 before losing to holders Ghana 2-0 in a dead rubber that was played by fringe players.

Zimbabwe will now face Sierra Leone in the quarterfinals this weekend. The Lone Stars made it to the finals last year which they narrowly lost to Ghana.

Tournament director and Team Zimbabwe manager Marshall Gore said the African Nations Cup UK (ANCUK) is one of the biggest community football tournaments in the UK.

It has been running since 2009, attracting thousands of spectators. The tournament is supported by the Football Association (FA) and affiliated to both the London and Essex FA Counties.

Over the years, the event has grown in stature, establishing vital partnerships with various statutory organisations including the Terence Higgins Trust, The Newham Borough Council and Kick It Out, a racism eradication group founded by the English Premier League.

Gore said this year’s competition is sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines, the biggest operating African airline. Winners of the tournament will walk away with a prestigious trophy plus £4000 prize money.

This year’s opening ceremony was graced by his the High Commissioner of Rwanda to the UK William Nkuruziza, Wayne Deller, CEO of the Essex Football County and Mario Mansill Marketing Director of Ethiopian Airlines.

The Zimbabwean team, skippered by former Caps United Midfielder Kelvin Mushabi, went into cruise control from the first game.

They dismissed Uganda emphatically with goals from Brian Ndlovu (2) and Junior Ndlovu (1) son of Zimbabwe legend Madinda Ndlovu.

Veteran Ware FC goalkeeper Obey Murefu, formerly of Harare giants Dynamos, was at his best, saving a first half penalty which denied Uganda an equaliser. Although Uganda had a lot of possession, Zimbabwe played a quick counter attack game which troubled the East Africans all the time.

The tie against Tanzania was closely contested as the Taifa  Stars needed a win after losing their first game against Ghana.

In a bid to freshen up the team, the Zimbabwe coach Thabang Nare made some brave changes. He gambled and played youngster Junior Kelvin Mutumbi who rewarded him by scoring two beautiful goals, one a curling short from outside the box.


Brian Ndlovu, young brother to former Warriors captain Peter Ndlovu, came in as a second half substitute and scored the killer goal - his third in the tournament. The gangling striker has improved this year following a poor show in last year’s tournament.  Second choice goalkeeper Tasiwa Nyambiya also looked composed in goal.

The game against South Africa was crucial for the Warriors; they knew that a win would take them through to the next round.  As for the South Africans, they came into the tie with confidence after beating holders Ghana in their opening match.

The game kicked off at a pulsating pace with both teams searching for an early opener. Zimbabwe took the lead midway in the first half when the skilful Maxwell Dube “Marhino” sent through Muzzy Nduna with a chick back heal. The Coventry United FC striker responded by blasting the ball into the roof of the net.

The goal drew loud cheers from the partisan Zimbabwean crowed which  has now made it a habit to invade the pitch after every goal. Nduna’s lead was immediately cancelled by Niel Fern, the gangling South African defender who plays in Romania.

However, the introduction of skilful midfielder Jones Moy who plays for AFC Fawley in Southampton brought more life into the Zimbabwe team. He combined well with Marhino and set up Junior Ndlovu to score the winner and his second for the tournament.

The defeat left Bafana Bafana on the verge of elimination from the tournament and their fate was eventually sealed when they lost their last game to Tanzania 4-1.

Overally, the Warriors performed well in the group stages. The 3 wins and 8 goals bear testimony to the good organisation, hard work and thorough preparations done in advance to assemble a very good squad made up of professional footballers plying their trade in various UK leagues and academies.

The defensive paring of Chazi Hokoza and Farai Hallam looks rock solid; they have only conceded 3 goals in the campaign.

Wing backs Martin Chirimuta and Nkosi Mzingwani continue impressive with their attacking versatility in a 3-5-2 formation favoured by mentor JB Nare while youngster Prince “Zongo” Mazwi has also stolen the limelight barely 6 months after his arrival from Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe head coach Thabang “JB” Nare, former player of the late Marunza’s ZRP Tomlinson, was optimistic on his teams’ chances following their outstanding performance in the group stages.

“We are aiming to do better than last year’s quarterfinal finish,” he said.

“We have some talented young players who can deliver if they focus on playing as a team and remain disciplined. I’m confident that we can beat Sierra Leone but we still need to take them serious; they have better pedigree than us in this tournament.

After the last game, assistant coach Thomas Tomik explained the initiative of building a national team in the UK.

“The Zimbabwe UK Diaspora National Team is a development squad that will help to capture up and coming Zimbabwean talent natured in various football academies in the UK following migration of many Zimbabweans into the country in the last decade,” he said.

“The purpose of this project is to support ZIFA and the national teams to discover hidden Zimbabwean football talent in the UK Diaspora and main land Europe.”

The Warriors squad also comprises former Premier League Players now living in the UK and playing for various professional and semi-professional clubs.

Notable inclusions are Maxwell Dube; Raymond Undi; Brian Badza; Obey Murefu; Alvin & Martin Chirimuta; Kelvin Mushambi; Beston Matabile; Kudakwashe Zinhu and Henry Sebenge

The quarterfinal between Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone will be played this weekend, Saturday 7th of June 2014 at West Ham Memorial Grounds, Memorial Avenue Essex E15 3DB. Kick Off 12pm.


Goalkeepers: Obey Murefu (Ware United FC); Tasiwa Nyambiya (St Matthews Dynamos FC) and Tafadzwa Manyenga (Zim Saints FC)

Defenders: Chazi Hokoza (Flauden Fc ); Alvin Chirimuta (Zim Saint Fc); Martin Chirimuta(Phoenix Sports Fc); Thomas Thomik (Three Ways Shipping FC); Nkosi Mzingwane (Coventry United Fc) ); Eddie Mudzi (Three Ways Shipping);Gary Mapanda (Zim Saints Fc); Farai Hallam(Finchely Wintagate FC); Kevin Dimingo (Gosport Borough FC);Chrispen Sinodzima(Zim Saints Fc); Kenny Mutsanya (Watford Tigers Fc);Tinashe Payarira(St Mathews Dynamos) and Prince Maphosa Mazwi(Coventry United)

Midfielders: Raymond Undi (Aylesbury Dynamos FC); Mzwandile Nduna (Coventry United);Kelvin Mushambi (Calton Town FC); Mikaeel White(Barnet FC); Lionel Mafukidze (Stevenage Fc); Zaideen Brown (Luton Town Resv); Charles Guvamatanga (Zim Saints Fc); Bestone Matibile (Luton Aces); Kuya Zinhu (Zim Saints Fc); Terence Payarira (Coventry United); Tawanda Rupere ( Garfoth Town Fc ); Jones Moyo (AFC Fawley Fc); Simba Mandi (Three Ways Shipping Fc); Henry Sibenge (Derby Mickleover Sports Fc); Gabriel Maisiri (Manorians Fc)

Forwards: Junior Nlovu (Almondbury UWE Fc); Brian Ndlovu (Coventry United Fc); Shepherd Machingauta (Three Way Shipping FC); Trevor Mutero (Glyfada Fc); McKolly Bond (Ipswich Town); Maxwell Dube (Young Worriors Fc); Spencer Sachikonye (Eastbourne Town); Junior Fredric Mtumbi (Three Ways Shipping Fc ); Herbet Mujanja (Hounslow Fc); Simba Mandizha (Luton Aces Fc); Tino Chinake (Mighty Worriors Fc)

Technical Team: Liberty Masunda (Head Coach); Thabang Nare (Head Coach); Thomas Thomik (Ass Coach); Sanudy Nambale (Welfare Manager); Wellington Muringayi (Technical Advisor); Ricky Kuvarega (Team Doctor); Davison Chimenya (Team Medic)
Alan Dinala (Psychologist); Marshall Gore (Team Manager/Communications)

Quarterfinal Fixtures (Saturday 7th of June Kick OFF 12 pm)

Zimbabwe vs Sierra Leone
Somalia v Uganda
Cameroon v Guinea Bissau
Senegal v Nigeria

If you want to help, sponsor or support Team Zimbabwe please contact Management on 07828068585.

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