Tadious Manyepo in BUTARE, Rwanda
ZIMBABWE’S Warriors blew away a GOLDEN chance for a historic World Cup qualifying win against Nigeria’s Super Eagles at Huye Stadium here yesterday.
Walter Musona scored a beauty of a free-kick, 26 minutes into the match, but substitute Kelechi Iheanacho levelled the affair six minutes after the hour mark.
He profited from a blunder, genuine or otherwise, from the suspect match officials who should have picked that Moses Simon was in an offside position when he ran clear of the Zimbabwe defence before he laid the ball to Iheanacho.
Debutant Andy Rinomhota had a very good game and showed there are some rich pickings for the Warriors hidden in the English leagues.
“I am happy but disappointed as well,” said Warriors coach Baltemar Brito.
“It was a really good game of football by the players. They gave it their all and I think, for all the effort, they deserve to be praised.
“I salute this group of players for their committed fight on the field.
“It was a close contest but I think we fashioned out the best chances. Nigeria were in our box very few times.
“I think we had a chance to win the game but credit to the players for the fight.”
Blundering referee Souleiman Ahmed Djama tried to play for the Super Eagles and controversially ruled that goalkeeper Donovan Bernard had committed a foul, inside the box, and gave Nigeria a free-kick.
The Zimbabweans complained bitterly and the football gods served justice when skipper Marvelous Nakamba cleared the ball from the line.
With Jordan Zemura and Rinomhota in fine form, the Warriors controlled the opening moments but they were a bit jittery at the back conceding two corner kicks in the opening 20 minutes.
Teenage Hadebe and substitutes Tanaka Shandirwa and Devine Lunga missed very good chances to win the game for the Warriors.
Donovan Bernard, Andrew Mbeba (Divine Lunga 82ndmin), Gerald Takwara, Teenage Hadebe, Jordan Zemura, Marvelous Nakamba, Andy Rinomhota (Tanaka Shandirwa 82nd min) Marshal Munetsi, Walter Musona (Obriel Chirinda 69th min), Prince Dube (Munashe Garan’anga 69th min), Tino Kadewere (Terrence Dzvukamanja 90th min)
Francis Uzoko, Olufisayo Temitayo (Bright Osayi-Samuel 46min), Oluwasemilogo Ajayi, Alexander Iwobi, Terem Moffi (Sadiq Umar 77nd min), Frank Onyeka, Bruno Onyemaechi (Jamilu Collins 85th hmin), Moses Simon, Nathan Tella (Kelechi Iheanacho 46th min), Ayodele Oluwaseyi, Ughelumba Chniedu
Original post on H Metro