By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Warriors began their bid to qualify for the 2020 World Cup in Qatar on a disappointing note after being held to a goalless draw by South Africa’s Bafana Bafana.
The match was a drab Group B encounter at the National Sports Stadium in Harare Friday.
The result leaves Croatian coach Zdravko Logarusic under more scrutiny as the Warriors are now winless in their last 13 matches under his watch.
More importantly, it leaves the Warriors facing a tough route in their bid to qualify for their first World Cup after failing to utilise home advantage in their first match.
The home side, which was missing several key players found the going tough against a disciplined South African outfit which with a bit of luck could have claimed all three points.
The home side managed just one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes when Khama Billiat forced a fine save from the South African goalkeeper and skipper Ronwen Williams in the 30th minute.
South Africa had earlier threatened to take the lead as early as the 17th minute when Teboho Mokoena forced a brilliant diving save from Talbert Shumba for the first real chance of the match.
A depleted Zimbabwe side struggled to stamp their authority in the match and had to wait until the 26th minute for their first shot at goal when Kuda Mahachi’s long-range shot went wide of goal.
After a poor first half, the hosts started the second half stronger with Alec Mudimu coming close with a rebound shot from a goalmouth melee after the South Africa defence failed to decisively deal with a Knowledge Musona’s corner.
The South Africans, however, dominated the second half with goalkeeper Takudzwa Chimwemwe clearing the ball on the goal line after Shumba had spilled Bongokahle Hlongwane’s close range.
Newly signed Al Ahly forward Percy Tau almost grabbed a late winner but his curling shot was parried away by a diving Shumba in the 76th minute.
In the end, a share of the spoils was the fair result although the South Africans will be the happier of the two teams.
The Warriors will now head to Ethiopia for a date against the hosts Tuesday.