The Warriors are out of World Cup reckoning after a one-nil defeat by Ghana in a 2022 world cup qualifier at the National Sports Stadium this Tuesday.
A 30th minute mistake by goalkeeper Talbert Shumba was the difference between the two sides as Ghanaian stand in captain Thomas Partey’s harmless looking free-kick sailed through the Zimbabwean goalkeeper’s hands.
For a country that has never really struggled in the goalkeeping department after producing the likes of Bruce Grobbelaar, Japhet Mparutsa, Brenna Msiska, Gift Muzadzi, Tapiwa Kapini and Energy Murambadoro to mention a few, the recent nightmarish performances in between the posts are worrying.
In recent years, Elvis Chipezeze, Talbert Shumba, Martin Mapisa, Ariel Sibanda and Washington Arubi have all been given a chance but failed to stamp their authority as the last line of defence.
In today’s match, the Warriors started strongly and were in control for much of the game and had it not been for that mistake they would have walked away with a point.
The impressive Jordan Zemura went on a spirited run in the 14th minute and pulled the ball back, but could not find a teammate in the box.
Five minutes later captain Knowledge Musona unleashed a blistering free kick that was parried away by Joseph Wallacot in goals for Ghana before Zimbabwe was later flagged offside trying to go for the rebound.
Kelvin Madzongwe, who impressively but quietly went about his business nearly got onto the end of a cross, only for it to sail just over his head from another cross from the left flank.
Five minutes later, the Black Stars wheeled away in celebration after the captain of the day Thomas Partey scored from a free kick just outside the box.
Jordan Zemura continued to provide a gateway and some good crosses from the left flank only for them to fail to find a Zimbabwe shirt in the box.
Another Talbert Shumba mistake just at the stroke of halftime resulted in Terence Dzvukamanja clearing the ball from the line.
The second half did not really produce any fireworks, with the West Africans taking every opportunity possible to slow down the game, while the Warriors substitutes had very little impact.
There are a lot of positives from this game and the last game, and today, I said I will do the best to rescue the world cup campaign but it’s done now, we building for AFCON, said Warriors Coach Norman Mapeza.
The Warriors are still anchored at the bottom of Group G with a single point from four matches while Ghana moved to nine points.