By Richard Chidza
OUT foxed, out-thought, out-played and out-muscled. The some-total of Zimbabwe’s Warriors humiliation in Cairo. The weight of a desperate nation’s probably too much for the 11 football players sent out by an out-of depth Sunday Chidzambwa.
Only the talismanic Khama Billiat should have worn that Warriors jersey.
ZIMBABWEAN goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze was a ball of nerves in a forgettable first half in which the country’s hopes for a maiden second round appearance evaporated in at the June 30 Stadium’s sweltering heat.
Chipezeze was not supposed to start only thrust into the deep end because George Chigova pulled his hamstring during warm-up. It showed the first freekick DRC got resulted in a goal.
On his birthday and his country’s independence anniversary DRC 25 year-old striker Jonathan Bolingi who was later in the half to leave the field in tears poked the ball home after just five minutes in.
Zimbabwe never recovered and 30 minutes later a long ball from the DRC goalkeeper was flicked into the Zimbabwean defence left-back Ronald Pfumbidzai moved in to stop the cross and when Teenage Hadebe paired with the only locally based player featuring for Zimbabwe Lawrence Mhlanga at the back tried an off-side trap, it all went horribly wrong.
FC Platinum centre-back Mhlanga was caught out, exposed and Chinese based Cedric Bakambu raced clear came eye-ball-eyeball with Chipezeze who had taken too long to make a decision on whether to fly out of his area or stick it out.
Bukambu never needed a second invitation. It was two nil. Zimbabwe were staring down the barrel.
Another attempted buildup not only dissipated but was immediately turned into attack by the DRC, Bakambu was sent through and Chipezeze came out flying, brought his opponent down.
Penalty DRC and luckily Zimbabwe’s only goalkeeper standing got away with a yellow card, but even worse punishment was that Bakambu dusted himself up to sent him the wrong way.
Zimbabweans would have probably thought the worst was over. No. Chipezeze was not done gifting Assambalonga DRC’s fourth goal 77 minutes in after spilling a harmless short that could have passed for a netball throw-in. Chidzambwa pulled out captain Knowledge Musona.
It was a cruel reminder of how the name of a country around the River Congo would cruelly expose a Zimbabwean goalkeeper. John Sibanda’s comics 20 years ago replayed and this time the other Congo was on hand to provide a Chipezeze horror show. For the Warriors it was over.