By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Warriors goalie George Chigova pulled some spell-binding heroics in three penalty kick saves by Botswana’s Zebras to end the two sides’ COSAFA Castle Cup quarter final clash in a 4-2 victory in favour of the defending champions.
The match, played at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa on Sunday evening, ended 1-1 during regulation time and was decided by the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
The Zimbabwe Senior National Men’s Football side powered by Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker Khama Billiat had failed to impose its profile on a young Botswana side that put up a brave performance to force a stalemate.
The Warriors were first to find the net after 38 minutes when an impressive Billiat sent through a defence splitting pass to Evans Rusike who had the composure of controlling the ball and pick his spot under challenge from his markers.
The Warriors enjoyed dominance in the match but survived some sporadic attacks by the Zebras who paid little respect for their more experienced opponents.
Zimbabwe were stunned when Onkabetse Makgantai’s glance header off a corner kick trickled beyond the reach of a poorly positioned Chigova during the stroke of the hour to level the scores.
During the penalty lottery, the Warriors got their goals through Abbas Amidu, Billiat and Jameson Mukumbwe while Botswana were stunned to find the former Dynamos goal-minder stopping their three efforts struck in a row by Tumisang Orebonye, Tebogo Sosome and Hatayaone Kgamanyane.
The victory was sweet revenge for the Warriors who were humiliated in front of their home fans during an international friendly match to mark the country’s 38 years of independence April this year.