THE Warriors hit a new low under Zdravko Logarusic when their six-year unbeaten record at COSAFA Cup went up in smoke at the hands of Namibia yesterday at the Nelson Mandela Bay.
Zimbabwe, who are winless after playing three games at this year’s edition of the competition, are now staring a possible exit as they have totally surrendered control of their own destiny in Group B.
Two goals in the last 20 minutes complicated life for Loga’s men, who now need to win their last group game against Senegal tomorrow and hope that the other results in the group go their way.
It was also a bad day for Loga, who has now lost six games in 11 outings for the Warriors. Zimbabwe have won only once and drawn four other games under the 55-year old coach.
The Warriors, who hold the record of winning six COSAFA Cup titles, have been terribly out of their depth at this year’s edition of the tournament.
And their woes continued yesterday after conceding an own goal by defender Qadr Amini on the 70th minute before the 86th minute knockout blow from Namibian striker, Elmo Kambindu.
The Warriors had gone into the match with a proud record of 17 matches unbeaten in regulation time at the regional football competition. They had last tasted defeat against the same opponents back in 2015.
The other time Zimbabwe lost a COSAFA Cup match during the period spanning six years was after a penalty shootout against Zambia in a 2019 semi-final clash.
But the current edition has been a nightmare. Zimbabwe opened their campaign with a barren draw against Mozambique.
They were then forced to dig deep and force a share of the spoils against Malawi, after recovering from a two-goal deficit and settle for a 2-2 draw, in their second game.
After a goalless first half yesterday, the Warriors came close to breaking deadlock via Blessing Sarupinda’s 54th minutes freekick. The CAPS United midfielder however could not believe his luck when the ball bounced back from the crossbar.
Zimbabwe then went down when Amini beat veteran goalkeeper Washington Arubi from close range after the ball came off his chest and rolled into the nets under pressure from Kambindu.
Centre back Jimmy Dzingai was also involved in the melee. Kambindu then put the final nail in the coffin with four minutes remaining.
The Namibia forward found himself with the space and time to shoot past the badly exposed goalkeeper after the Zimbabwean defenders had failed to clear their lines from a set piece.
Loga has often blamed the absence of football on the domestic scene and yesterday did not have much to say about that as their opponents Namibia have also been inactive in a while.
Football in Namibia resumed in April after two years of dormancy which was caused by administrative power struggles and the coronavirus.
However, authorities there temporarily stopped all contact sports in June, as a measure to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
“We had domination 20-25 minutes in the second half but we didn’t use our domination to score goals,” said Loga.
“There was an individual mistake at the back the first time and we conceded. We also had another individual mistake the second time.
“But I am still happy with the things I saw for most of the game. Most of the guys are young players and this is good lesson for them.”
Zimbabwe face Senegal in their last group game tomorrow. Senegal have three points from two games while the Warriors have two from three starts.
Zimbabwe were eagerly following the other group match between Mozambique and Malawi later yesterday. The top two teams from the group will progress.
“We have to fight, maybe some results can go our way and in the last game (against Senegal) maybe something will happen because we can still fight for second position.
“You never know in Africa, any team can beat any team and let’s see how things will go. Congratulations to Namibia and we have to regroup ourselves for the next game,” said Logarusic.
Namibia: L. Kazapua, I. Kamperipa, A. Petrus, C. Hambira, A. Gebhardt, W. Katjieko (N. Theophilus, 66th min), D. Fredricks (A. Hundura, 46th min), A Limbondi, M. Papama (I. Gurirab, 46th min), W. Stephanus, E. Kambindu
Zimbabwe: W. Arubi, L. Mucheto, Q. Amini (D. Murimba, 72nd min), S. Nyahwa, C. Mavhurume, J. Dzingai, B. Musaka (B. Banda, 77th min), B. Sarupinda (N. Dube, 82nd min), O. Karuru, R. Hachiro (M. Mkolo, 82nd min), F. Matare (A. Mbemba, 46th min)