Warriors haunt Zambia


Nigel Matongorere

©️ ALMOST four months later, the Warriors’ win over Chipolopolo in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group H qualifier is still causing shock waves in Zambian football.

On November 19, 2019, a Warriors side low on confidence ran onto the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka to take on the home side.

Four days earlier, Zimbabwe had been booed off the pitch by their own fans following an insipid 0-0 home draw against Botswana at the National Sports Stadium.

After that lifeless display, no one really gave the Warriors a chance when they travelled to Heroes Stadium where, for many years, they had suffered painful defeats to Chipolopolo.

However, against the odds, Zimbabwe emerged 1-2 victors courtesy of a Khama Billiat brace while Patson Daka was on target for the home side.

Billiat’s first goal was a result of poor marking by the Zambian defence when they left the Kaizer Chiefs talisman unmarked inside the box from a set piece after only 10 minutes.

The 29-year-old headed home captain Knowledge Musona’s corner kick to silence the home fans.
Chipolopolo were able to come back into the match a few moments later when Daka raced past the Warriors defence before firing a rising shot at goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze’s near post.

Billiat completed his brace in the second half following a swift counter attack involving Ovidy Karuru and Musona.
The Warriors were able to hang on and the precious three points catapulted them into second place in the group, with four points after two games.

After the game, Zambian fans were flabbergasted by their team’s performance and ugly scenes soon erupted.
The Chipolopolo fans began throwing missiles onto the pitch and police had to move in to calm the situation.

With the Confederation of African Football (Caf) match commissioner and coordinator present to witness the ugly scenes, trouble was always going to be brewing for the Football Association of Zambia (Faz).

Last week, Caf finally handed down their judgment and Faz were fined US$7 500 for the crowd trouble.
If there are any further disturbances at future Chipolopolo home games, then Zambia will have to face a stadium ban from Caf.

This has left Faz general secretary Adrian Kashala fuming at the behaviour of the Chipolopolo fans.

“We hope that the fans will take note of the international bodies like Cosafa, Caf, and Fifa that monitor whatever happens in our game. We risk even being forced to play our home matches away from home.

“This is a huge cost on the association which could be channelled to clubs or other football development programmes. Fans should learn to adhere to the rules of the game,” Kashala told the Times of Zambia on Friday.

The 2021 Afcon Group H qualifiers should have resumed last weekend but Caf had to postpone the matches due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

Zimbabwe were supposed to travel to Blida to take on group leaders Algeria while Zambia were home to Botswana.
Yesterday, the Warriors would have hosted the Desert Foxes in the reverse fixture in Johannesburg, South Africa.
All of Zimbabwe’s stadia were deemed unfit to host international matches by Caf and this had forced Zifa to settle for Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.

At the moment, the coronavirus outbreak is still causing havoc across the globe, with over 30 000 people dying from the novel virus while at least 680 000 have been infected.

The 2021 Afcon tournament was supposed to have been held in Cameroon next January-February but that now looks uncertain after the qualifiers were postponed.

It is highly likely the 33rd edition of Africa’s premier football competition will now be staged in June-July next year.


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1 Comment
  1. Anesu Samhembere says

    A well written script with enough suspense in the earlier stages of the piece job well done editor

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