By Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Joey Antipas has praised his charges for their positive change of attitude, bouncing from a disappointing draw against Botswana to register a historic win away to Zambia in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group G qualifier at the Heroes stadium on Tuesday evening.
After failing to beat minnows Botswana in a lifeless show at home last Friday, the Warriors went into their match against the Zambians under intense pressure but responded positively to register a 2-1 victory courtesy of a brace by Khama Billiat.
The win meant the Warriors became the first generation of successive Zimbabwean national sides to defeat Chipolopolo at the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
Antipas, whose short-term contract as Warriors coach comes to an end next month, attributed his charges’ failure to beat Botswana to wrong attitude within the Zimbabwean dressing room.
“I think against Botswana we went into the match with the wrong attitude,” he said.
“We went into the match thinking that we had already won the match before we played and it was undoing. But against Zambia, we had the right attitude.
“We knew that it would be an uphill battle to even get anything here and we told the players that everyone had to give their all in this match.”
Antipas said he was happy with the manner in which his charges went about their business against Zambia.
“Against Botswana were quite slow in our play but against Zambia we were very quick and we played well on the counter.
“After a frenetic first half, we changed tactics in the second half to sort of sit back a bit and play on the counter. It worked well for us because we have skilful and fast players upfront.”
The Warriors stormed into an early lead through Billiat, who planted Knowledge Musona’s cross from a corner kick into the roof of the net in the 10th minute.
Zambia quickly responded through a fine strike from Partson Daka 10 minutes later before Billiat struck the winner from another assist by Musona 12 minutes from time.
The crucial win lifted Zimbabwe into second place on the table with the win with four points, two behind leaders Algeria who have won their opening two matches against Zambia and Botswana.
The Warriors’ next two matches in the qualification campaign will be against the group favourites and reigning African champions Algeria in August next year.