Warriors Fire Blanks COSAFA Opener

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S national football team began their 2021 COSAFA Cup campaign on a disappointing note after being held to a goalless draw by Mozambique in their opening Group B match Wednesday.

The match was played at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The Warriors have previously dominated encounters against their Southern African neighbours and went into the match as overwhelming favourites to get their campaign off to a winning start against a young Mozambique side which consisted of Under-23 players.

Despite their better record, Zimbabwe failed to create any meaningful chances throughout the contest while their goal-shy forward lacked composure up front.

The Warriors also had veteran goalkeeper Washington Arubi to thank as he pulled off some important saves on his comeback to the national team.

Arubi, who was playing his first match for the national team in six years, was first called to action as early as in the first minute when pulled off a good save to thwart a long-range effort from Abel Nhantumbo.

The former Dynamos keeper was also tested seven minutes later when showed quick reflexes to tip over the bar a head from point-blank by Estêvão Novela.

Mozambique also had another brilliant opportunity a few moments later but Francisco Simbine failed to hit the target with Arubi caught flat-footed.

The Warriors who were struggling with their rhythm failed to create any meaningful opportunities in the first half although skipper Ovidy Karuru and Farau Matare came close to goal breaking the deadlock.

Mozambique thought they had broken the deadlock in the 78th minute but the effort was ruled for an offside.

Zimbabwe had their best chance of the match a few moments later which was wasted by Triangle striker Delic Murimba.

Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic who arrived in Port Elizabeth on the morning of the game after getting his visa to enter South Africa Tuesday made five second-half substitutions, but they all failed to deliver a goal for Zimbabwe.

The game ended goalless with Zimbabwe continuing their undefeated run against Mozambique at COSAFA Cup tournaments.

The Warriors will take on the Flames of Malawi in their next match at the same venue Friday.

Zimbabwe team: W Arubi, L Mucheto, Q Amin, J Dzingai, C Mavhurume, T Tavengwa (Hachiro 80 mins), S Nyahwa (Phiri 80 mins), B Sarupinda (Nadolo 64 mins), B Banda (Musaka 58 mins), O Karuru (captain), F Matare (Murimba 64 mins).