Mapeza proud of unlucky Warriors

Ghana……………………….. (1) 3

Zimbabwe……………………. (0) 1

WARRIORS put up one of their best performances in recent times but it was not enough as they went down to Ghana at the Cape Coast Stadium last night leaving their chances of making it to 2022 Qatar World Cup hanging in the balance.

Mohammed Kudus, Thomas Partey and Andre Ayew were on target for the Black Stars while Knowledge Musona scored the Warriors’ solitary goal from the spot kick.  

The defeat leaves the Warriors rooted at the bottom of Group G with a single point from three matches, six behind South Africa, who beat Ethiopia 1-3  at the Bahir Dar Stadium earlieer in the day while Ghana are now on six points.

It was interim coach Norman Mapeza’s first match since taking  over from the sacked Croatian Zdravko “Loga” Logarusic and despite the defeat the FC Platinum coach justified his reputation as one of the best local coaches after the Warriors put up a commendable show last night.

Mapeza was proud of his boys and foresees a bright future.  

“I’m proud of my boys. They worked so hard. After that equaliser I think we had some few chances to go ahead but it’s football, it was not to be,” Mapeza said after the match.

“This is my first assignment with the national team after replacing the coach who was there. I knew the task at hand because after two matches we only had a single point. 

“I came because I wanted to try and save the campaign as well as prepare for the Afcon tournament.

“From what I saw, it’s work in progress and if we keep working hard and play the way we did today, I’m sure the future is bright. I’m more than pleased with the performance…..  the boys worked so hard.”

The result was not a true reflection of the game as the Warriors dominated especially in the second half and created several scoring chances only to stutter in front of goal while at times they found Ghana goalkeeper Jojo Wallocott equal to the task.

After conceding five minutes into the game through Kudus whose shot from the edge of the box took a slight deflection off Onismor Bhasera, the Warriors re-grouped and went on to play some attractive football with methodical build-ups from the back.

It was not a surprise when Musona equalised for the Warriors three minutes from the break sending Wallocott the wrong way from the penalty spot.

It was the manner in which the Warriors won the spot kick which impressed the most.    

Defender Tendai Darikwa started the run on the right side before releasing the ball to Thabani Kamusoko who found the equally impressive Jordan Zemura on the left side.

The Bournemouth youngster squared the ball to Knox Mutizwa who was then tripped by Alexander Djiku under pressure to clear his lines in a marvellous interplay by the Warriors.

The Warriors almost took the lead on 53 minutes only for Zemura to be denied by the cross bar. 

Musona also came close just after the hour mark as the Warriors threw everything at the home side but this time found Wallocott equal to the task — blocking his effort back into  play, but no-one was there to pick up the pieces for the national side.

And after surviving the onslaught, Ghana took their chances and went 2-1 up after 66 minutes when some individual effort from Partey, who dispossessed Darikwa at the back, before placing his shot past Washington Arubi.

Ayew made sure of maximum points as he headed home from the edge of the six-yard box three minutes from full time after connecting a John Mensah cross.