By Tadious Manyepo
Calls had reached fever pitch for Warriors captain Knowledge Musona to be axed.
A below-par showing in the 2021 AFCON qualifying opener against Botswana did not make the situation any better for the Anderlecht forward who has been failing to break into his side’s first team.
After a horror show at the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt, Musona wasn’t called for national duty for the World Cup qualifier against Somalia.
And, had caretaker coach Joey Antipas dropped him from his 18-man match day squad for the assignment in Zambia on Tuesday, very few would have raised their eyebrows.
But the Chicken Inn gaffer stuck with his man and asked him to lead the team in Lusaka.
Once he got his first touch right, coolly controlling a pass from Kuda Mahachi before he lofted for Ovidy Karuru, Musona immediately settled into the game.
That he created both goals, converted by Khama Billiat, summed up a good day in the office.
And, that trademark smile was back again on Tuesday night.
“It was a good game, we did what we wanted. We wanted three points and got them,” said Musona.
“We wanted to score first and we did but, unfortunately, at one moment we lacked concentration and we conceded.
“But the good thing is that we kept going and resisted their furious attacks and kept fighting.
“Everyone was fighting and I am so happy about that.
“The most important thing is that we managed to win the match, no matter how we played.’’
The skipper said he was relieved to see the Warriors smiling again after everything that happened against Botswana in the first match.
“It’s a good feeling, we failed to score at home and we didn’t create as many chances,’’ he said.
“I am so happy that I contributed to the team but the most important thing is not about me contributing but the three points we bagged.”
Wales-based defender, Alec Mudimu, who captained the team in Musona’s absence, also had a message to the people of this country.
“Last night (Tuesday night) was one for the country and, given a poor first half, defensive-wise we stuck together and pulled through as a united team,’’ he said.
“It’s in tough situations like that we learn it’s crucial to be together and weather the storm.
“All in all, a very important three points to keep our momentum high and unbeaten steak still running into the next games.
“Thank you everyone who took time out to support and show love and to the ones who travelled to Zambia for our crucial fixture, please be sure to travel back home safely.
“Let’s not go over our heads and stay calm as this is a marathon and not a sprint but to enjoy the moment . . . we are more than willing to work tirelessly for each other and the nation as a whole.’’ The Herald