The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE’S hopes of reviving their fading World Cup campaign collapsed when they lost 0-1 to Ghana at the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
The Warriors went into the match on the back of a 3-1 loss in Ghana on Saturday, and needed a win to put their campaign back on track.
Zimbabwe still anchor Group G, with a point from four matches, and are now out of contention for a place in the final qualifying round, which is reserved for the group winners.
Even if Zimbabwe win their last two games against South Africa and Ethiopia in November, they can only finish on eight points, but Ghana are already on nine points after the victory against the Warriors.
South Africa, who are on seven points, play Ethiopia late Tuesday.
Zimbabwe interim coach Norman Mapeza, however, praised his charges and refused to blame goalkeeper Talbert Shumba for letting in what looked like a harmless free-kick by Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey.
The Ghanaian scored after 32 minutes with an angled strike that sailed through Shumba’s hands.
“I am proud of the boys; they worked hard today,” Mapeza said.
“I was a footballer before and I made mistakes as well but my coach never dropped me. I will be like Judas if I sacrifice someone for a mistake.
“The boy is a professional player; he never looked down.”
The Warriors coach might, however, drop a number of players and call in some fresh faces for the last two qualifiers.
Mapeza is already preparing for the AFCON finals.
“As for the World Cup, the dream is over. We can now only start thinking about the AFCON finals in January,” he said.
Tuesday’s game saw some improvement in terms of scoring opportunities created, as Kelvin Madzongwe, Knowledge Musona and Jordan Zemura all came close.