By Petros Kausiyo
Triumphant Warriors were feeling the love of a nation as they returned home from their successful mission in Kinshasa yesterday with hordes of supporters on hand to welcome them at Robert Mugabe International Airport on the day skipper Knowledge Musona’s “mystery’’ wonder goal was trending on social media.
The Warriors joined a rare breed of teams that go to Kinshasa and come out with a win against the plucky Democratic Republic of Congo Leopards.
Bloemfontein Celtic left-back Ronald Pfumbidzai marked his return to the Warriors starting line-up after a long spell with the opening goal struck on the turn in the box in the first half.
Anderlecht striker Musona then gave the Warriors the insurance goal they needed to avoid the disappointment of the draw they had endured on their last away assignment against Congo in Brazzaville last month.
Musona, however, saw red after being booked for the second time on the night by Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed, five minutes after he had grabbed his team’s second and fourth of this campaign with a cheekily taken goal.
But millions of Zimbabweans watching the match on the SuperSport channel had to wait until yesterday to have a glimpse of the goal when it went viral on social media.
This is because for the better of the second half on Saturday night, there was intermittent breakdown of transmission with many viewers surprised to see a change on the scoreboard when the SuperSport channel reconnected.
The SuperSport commentators on the night did not help matters either as they kept talking of a possibility of DRC drawing level when the scoreboard already read 2-0.
When they did confirm that Musona had grabbed Zimbabwe’s second before his expulsion, that goal became such a mystery even after the game and for the early parts of yesterday with many searching to get a clip of the strike.
Social media eventually stepped in and provided the answers. And what a gem of goal it was as Musona intercepted a poor pass by the Congolese goalkeeper Anthony Mossi and rounded him twice before rifling home from close range.
As the Warriors trooped home to the warm reception of their jubilant fans, Chidzambwa insisted that the “war was not over’’.
The Warriors were also given a standing ovation as they entered Rufaro to watch the Premiership derby between Dynamos and CAPS United two hours after their arrival back home. While paying tribute to his charges for a gallant and disciplined show, Chidzambwa said he was expecting tomorrow night’s reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium to be even tougher as the Leopards will be seeking to avenge Saturday’s shock defeat in Kinshasa.
The veteran coach also rued the red card on Musona which he felt had come as a result of “a referee who was too harsh in his decisions’’.
Chidzambwa likened the battle in Kinshasa to a first half of a game and said the second period would be concluded tomorrow at the National Sports stadium.
“It was a very difficult game, I think the guys defended very well from the first minute to the last.
“They were coming at us and I thought the defence did very well. We utilised the few chances we got. They also created chances and a result they scored a goal but overall I am very pleased with the performance of the youngsters.
“They fought from the first minute until the final whistle,’’ Chidzambwa said. Chidzambwa said the Warriors would not be sitting ducks when they host the Leopards tomorrow night.
He said their game plan in Kinshasa had been to attack as well as defend well and they would use the same mantra as they seek to consolidate their grip on the group.
Zimbabwe now have a three-point advantage over the duo of DRC and Congo who are on four points while Liberia remain rooted at the bottom with just a point.
“I will take it as if we played the first half in DRC and we are now going for the second half. It’s not going to be easy for us. They will be coming at us and we really have to work hard to produce a good result in front of the nation.’’
Chidzambwa said Musona’s absence will be felt tomorrow as it did in the remainder of the game in Kinshasa.
“It is a very big blow for us, he was playing very well and scored a very beautiful goal and we are going to miss him’’. Chidzambwa was also impressed by England-based defender Tendayi Darikwa who was making his competitive debut for the Warriors.
“He played very, played extremely well and I am happy for him in that position. “In DRC we didn’t got to defend only, we were looking for goals and we got two and the same format will apply on Tuesday, we are going to look for goals and we must to defend as well’’.
Chidzambwa also expressed satisfaction with the discipline and character of his charges to withstand the heat.
“They were very disciplined except that I thought the referee was a bit harsh to us. I don’t think Knowledge deserved a red card or the first yellow card he got but these things happen in football and we will just take it up from there.” The Herald