Young Warriors stun mighty Cameroon

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ZIMBABWE’S Under-23 team reached the finals of All-Africa Games for the first time in two decades after holding Cameroon to a 1-1 draw in Yaoundé on Sunday
The Young Warriors beat their Central African opponents 2-1 aggregate to qualify for the tournament.
The victorious squad returned home on Tuesday morning to a nation.
Kalisto Pasuwa’s men defied odds staked against him to draw with West African giants in Yaounde on Sunday and advance to the finals to be held in Congo, Brazzaville in September.
He had travelled with a severely depleted squad as PSL clubs refused to release their players arguing the match falls outside the Fifa calendar for international matches. At times they trained with just eight players.
The Young Warriors went into the match carrying a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Harare and needed at least a draw to qualify.
And they got just that with defender Blessing Moyo who plays his club football with Dynamos scoring from the penalty spot.
Moyo’s strike cancelled Cameroon’s first half lead when captain Wisdom Mutasa, scorer of the priceless goal in the first leg in Harare, was fouled in the penalty box.
Cameroon holds a proud record of winning gold four times in 1991, 1999, 2003 and 2007 at the All- Africa Games.
Team captain Wisdom Mutasa could not hide his joy.
“It was difficult but we managed to qualify,” he said.
“It is always difficult to play away from home but we played as a team and everyone is just happy.
“We had challenges in our preparations for both legs but we put all that behind us and it has paid off. We are now looking to go and do well at the finals.”
The Young Warriors could have won the match had Senegal referee Daouda Gueye not disallowed Mgcini Sibanda’s 21st minute goal for offside. They also missed clear cut chances towards the end of the match.
Pasuwa will now be looking to emulate the class of 1995 that won silver at the All-Africa Games hosted by Zimbabwe having previously finished a credible fourth position in Egypt in 19Advertisement