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Young Warriors crash out

The Young Warriors crashed out of the CAF Under-20 Championships after they slumped to a 0-3 defeat at the hands of Cameroon yesterday.

THIS IS NOT FOOTBALL . . . The shocking image of the sub-standard bumpy and sandy training ground, with no grass at all, which was given to the Young Warriors by their hosts Cameroon ahead of the CAF Under-20 Championship qualifier
THIS IS NOT FOOTBALL . . . The shocking image of the sub-standard bumpy and sandy training ground, with no grass at all, which was given to the Young Warriors by their hosts Cameroon ahead of the CAF Under-20 Championship qualifier

The first leg in Harare had ended in a goalless draw. The Zimbabweans were given a raw deal by their hostile hosts, including being handed a sub-standard bumpy and sandy training ground, with no grass at all, for their training session.

And the Young Warriors who found themselves down 0-2 at the break, after goals by Eric Mba Ayak in the 20th minute and Mpindi Ekami seven minutes later, never recovered and conceded another goal after the break.

It was always a mountain to climb for the Young Warriors, returning to the championships after a four-year absence, given their failure to win the home leg at the National Sports Stadium three weeks ago. It was the second time they had failed to win their home match after going down 0-1 to neighbours Botswana at Barbourfields in the previous round.

However, the Young Warriors turned on the power in Botswana and won the reverse encounter to book a date against the West Africans. Reports from the Young Warriors camp last night said they faced a different side to the one they played in Harare.

“Of course, people will say that it’s sour grapes but some of the players that we faced today were not Under-20s but experienced footballers,” an official in the side told The Herald. “But that is the way football is on the continent, isn’t it, and it’s sad that for us it had to end this way and you can feel for the young boys.

“Our case wasn’t helped by our hosts who employed all the dirty tactics to frustrate our players and the training ground that we got was a joke to say the least.”

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