Zimbabwe secure victory away to Mauritius in CHAN opener
By Yasine Mohabuth
A brace by Nelson Maziwisa and a Milton Ncube goal gave Zimbabwe a comfortable 3-0 win in their African National Championship (CHAN) first round first leg qualifier in Mauritius.
It gave new Warriors coach Ian Gorowa a victory in his first match in charge of the team.
The locally based Zimbabwe side began their search for continental glory in great style at the New George V Stadium.
Despite the rain and muddy conditions, the Warriors took the lead through Maziwisa who perfectly headed in a Charles Sibanda cross to go one-up.
Milton Ncube doubled the score in the second half and Maziwisa added another goal to his tally one minute from the end with another header – thanks to a cross from Tawanda Muparati.
Mauritius had some chances to score but the Pithia brothers, Fabien and Fabrice, shot wide. Tafadzwa Dube also made an important save from a Stephane Pierre free kick.
Gorowa was thrilled with the victory:
“It was a very tough game, especially because the conditions (weather) were not good, but it turned out to be a good game of football with credit to both teams”, he told BBC Sport.
“Mauritius came back very strongly in the second half and could have scored one or two goals but we managed to wrap it up with a third goal.
“The CHAN is a very good competition for the younger players, a chance for the local players as they can have experience to play in these conditions and at this level”.
Mauritius coach Akbar Patel said his team is progressing but admitted his defence lack maturity. Patel says playing against bigger teams will make Mauritius more competitive in the future.
In other first round first leg matches, Cameroon belatedly beat Gabon 1-0 in their home fixture. The match was allowed to be played after the lifting this week of a Fifa ban on Cameroon for state interference.
Elsewhere, Botswana drew 1-1 with Zambia in Molepolole in their first leg. Mbewe had given Zambia the lead, with Botswana’s Tshireletso equalising four minutes later. The return match takes place next weekend.
Mozambique are also in a strong position to advance to the finals. They beat Namibia 3-0 in the home leg of their first round tie. BBC Sport, Mauritius