The Zimbabwe Under-17 men national football team began their COSAFA Championships campaign on a decent note after sharing spoils with Angola in the tournament opener.
The two sides clashed at Gelvandale stadium in the Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, yesterday.
The Young Warriors were given a penalty after an Angolan defender handled in the box, after just four minutes of play.
Friendly Academy midfielder, Alpha Chiwashira, took the spot kick and duly converted.
The Angolans restored parity deep into added time in the first period through a penalty which was converted by skipper Antonio Lopez.
Zimbabwe could have scored again, in the 61st minute, but Chiwashira’s long range shot, was saved by the ‘keeper.
Then, Prince Edward Academy striker Luke Musikiri connected a perfect cross from Alvin Dube only for his effort to miss the target by a whisker.
The regional tournament is also serving as the zonal Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, with the two teams which reach the final, booking a place at next year’s AFCON finals in Morocco.
Young Warriors coach, Tafadzwa Mashiri, was pleased with his troops’ performance.
“It was a good game, considering that it was the first international match for the boys.
“We had a game plan where we wanted to settle early first, and we got the early goal.
“From then, the Angolans were coming to us but the boys managed to defend, as we were a bit organised, unfortunately. we conceded before the break.
“Second half we rectified our mistakes, changed formation, employing more men in the midfield, making it difficult for the Angolans to penetrate, and it really worked for us, as they got frustrated.
“We got a few chances, very good ones and could have put them away with a bit of precision.’’
Zimbabwe meet hosts South Africa tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Under-20 men football team, which is scheduled to take part in the COSAFA Championships from December 3 to 13 at the Nelson Mandela Bay, got into camp yesterday at the ZIFA Village.
The Young Warriors are in Group A together with hosts South Africa, Mozambique and Lesotho.
ZIFA have appointed Under-23 coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, as the Under-20 team coach.
He will be assisted by Nesbert Saruchera and Mandla Mpofu.
Innocent Chogugudza is the goalkeeper’s coach.
Zimbabwe: Joseph Kaunda, Tapawanashe Chakuchichi, Enasio Perezo, Prosperity Gwaze, Talent Mwenga, Luther Munakandafa (Denzel Chikwanda, 43rd min), Alpha Chiwashira, Dylan Gumbe (Alvin Dube 46th min), Stephen Chatikobo, Bekezela Mpofu, Luke Musikiri.
Angola: Cristovao Catungue, Jose Gonga, Domingos Mendes, Armindo Canji, Jeremias Kossi, Jose Zengo, Ariclenes Antonio, Vicente Domingos, Luis Paquete, Andre Muhongo, Antonio Lopes. The Herald