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Warriors can still progress despite defeat to Senegal, says Marshall Gore
20/01/2017 00:00:00
by Marshall Gore
 
 
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THE Warriors succumbed to a painful 2 nil defeat against Senegal in a one sided affair in Franceville. The result means that Senegal has become the first team to reach the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals in Gabon.

Mane tapped in the opener from close range in the ninth minute from Lazio forward Keita Balde Diao's low cross. Henri Saivet, on loan at St Etienne from Newcastle, then struck home a brilliant 20 yard free-kick four minutes later.

Despite being dominated, the Warriors also had some chances to restore pride. Khama Billiat wasted a good chance for Zimbabwe just before half-time when he fired tamely at Abdoulaye Diallo. The keeper also produced a good block to keep out Nyasha Mushekwi's drive. The later was also denied a clear penalty claim in the last quarter.

As it stands, The Lions of Teranga have a maximum of six points from two Group B games. Tunisia are second with three points and both Algeria and Zimbabwe have a point each.

In order to qualify, Zimbabwe must beat Tunisia and hope that Senegal draw or win against Algeria.

It is still mathematically possible for the Warriors to reach the quarterfinals but they now need to focus on the game against Tunisia.

After Thursday night’ s defeat there was a lot of mixed feelings amongst Zimbabweans as many went on social media to express their feelings of both disappointment and encouragement.

Innocent Mugabe, former player and owner of BMJ Football Academy in Zimbabwe, wrote Tough Luck Zimbabwe. We go again against Tunisia”.
South African-based former Warriors defender Kaitano Tembo who is now the Assistant coach at Supper Sport United FC was full of encouragement;
“Tough luck Warriors we lost to a better team, now we have to throw the kitchen sink at Tunisia !!!!”
However (Hon) Professor Jonathan Moyo, (MP) Minister of High & Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development was quick to lay his blame on Coach Pasuwa. Commented on twitter he said:“ A disaster but for Tatenda Mukuruva. When a national team at this level lose its formation & plays chibhubhubhu, it’s a coach’s problem!”

In the end it can be said, this was a true reality check for the Warriors; they played a very good team with world class players. They met a real test and they tested their medicine. Senegal out played them in all departments. The Lions showed composure and a lot of quality especially in the first 20 minutes. After watching all the four teams in the group one has to be convinced that Algeria are the weakest link in the group, perhaps we Zimbabwe actually blew our chance by not collecting maximum points from them.



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Tunisia showed that they mean business; they were all organised and can handle come back pressure perhaps much better than us against Algeria. They, to some extent, matched Senegal at par in their first game and likewise defeated Algeria 2-1 convincingly. 

If we are not careful we could become the hunter hunted when we face them. It’s not a secret Pasuwa has to change his game plan going into to the Tunisia match them. I believe we need to be more combative in midfield, press, compress and make it difficult for our opponents to find rhythm. We allowed Senegal too much possession and they monopolised the game and created numerous chances to our detriment. Had it not been of young Mukuruva’s heroic saves it could have been a disaster.

Our defence looked shaky and vulnerable. They gave away possession deep, persistently inviting trouble especially in the first half. We tried to pass from the back when it looked clear that we were unsettled; even in midfield we kept on losing possession and composure. Our midfield failed to create meaningful chances bar from two half chance that came later in the game.   

We definitely need a fresh start against Tunisia. The fact that we did not collapse and concede many goals against Senegal under such pressure is a blessing in defeat. Let’s build on this resilience and take no prisoners against Tunisia.

Our defence has to be tight, like the security at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, our midfield should be exciting like Jah Prezha’s songs and our strikers should be on fire like Rick Fire the BhoBhoman. After all we are the underdogs and have nothing to lose but only something to gain if we win, the pride of our nation Zimbabwe.

Let’s Go Warriors and finish Tunisia. Redeem your pride Boyz. It’s still very possible. GoWarriorsGo


 
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