By Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe (0) 0
CONTROVERSIAL Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic yet again hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons for substituting his left-back Qadir Amini after just 139 seconds, as Zimbabwe failed to collect a single point in a disastrous 2020 African Nations Championships (CHAN) following a defeat to Mali in their Group A dead rubber against Mali in Douala, Cameroon on Sunday evening.
After his bizzare witchcraft allegations against Cameroon ahead of the tournament opener, Logarusic brutally substituted Amini just four minutes into the match against the Eagles of Mali.
Amini’s crime was taking a free kick ahead of the team’s designated free kick taker Tatenda Tavengwa.
The early substitution was probably the only highlight of another poor show for the Warriors as Demba Diallo netted the lone goal for Mali against Zimbabwe after 12 minutes at the Reunification Stadium in Douala.
After loses against Cameroon (1-0) and Burkina Faso (3-1), the defeat against Mali meant Logarusic’s charges became the first local side to bow out of the tournament without collecting a single point.
Mali on the other hand finished top of Group A after hosts Cameroon settled for a goalless draw against Burkina Faso in another match played at the same time at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.
Zimbabwe started with a high tempo as Amin missed a good scoring opportunity after only 3 minutes. But Amin was quickly replaced in the 4th minute by Ian Nekati.
The Eagles later dominated play with Issaka Samake and Siaka Bagayoko coming close to increasing the lead.
Mali’s goalkeeper Djigui Diarra parried away Farawe Matare’s close shot after 34 minutes for a corner.
In the second, half Mali intensified their attack, but poor finishing was their undoing. Bagayoko and Mussa Kone all had their shot blocked for Mali.
Zimbabwe also had Carlos Mavhurume’s shot blocked by the Malian goalkeeper Diarra.
At the stroke of full time Mali’s substitute Bassekou Diabate outpaced Zimbabwe’s advancing goalkeeper but his shot hit the post and bounced off.
It was all celebration by the Malian team after the final whistle as they qualified for the quarter final stage.
To reach the knock-out Mali opened their campaign with a 1-0 win against Burkina Faso, before drawing 1-1 with hosts Cameroon and finishing it off with a 1-0 win against Zimbabwe.