By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors skipper Knowledge Musona appears to have perfected the art of scoring brilliant goals from set-pieces after bagging a brace for KAS Eupen in a Belgian Pro-League football match against SV Zulte Waregem on Tuesday night.
The 30-year-old caught out the opponents’ goalkeeper, Louis Bostyn, twice from dead ball situations to put his team in a strong position with just over an hour played.
KAS Eupen, however, failed to build on the lead as they allowed the visitors to stage a dramatic comeback and snatch the match away in the last 15 minutes. Musona’s team went on to lose 2-3.
Musona’s team is playing catch-up games after their matches were postponed because of a coronavirus crisis that hit their camp earlier this month. The Belgian side recorded 13 positive cases to their senior team and five more among the members of staff.
They returned to action on Boxing Day with a 0-3 defeat to Club Brugge and had wanted a strong response against Zulte Waregem on Tuesday night.
Musona put KAS Eupen ahead in the 34th minute after taking responsibility of a free-kick that was won on the wide left side.
Musona whipped the ball with pin-point precision as it took a sharp flight before dipping behind the badly positioned goalkeeper and settling into the top corner of the nets.
The brace was completed in the 57th minute. Musona curled another exquisite free-kick over the opposition’s wall from just outside the penalty arc to double KAS Eupen’s lead.
The Zimbabwean was rested after 78 minutes, just three minutes after the visitors had pulled back one goal through Jean-Luc Dompé. Then Gianni Bruno levelled the scores before 39-year-old SV Zulte Waregem defender Olivier Deschacht scored the winner in the 84th minute.
But Musona, who is battling to rescue a waning career in Europe, has now scored four league goals for his side this season.
He has demonstrated these dead-ball specialist traits during the last African Cup of Nations campaign against Algeria. He was on target with a trademark strike that won the applause of the Confederation of African Football when Zimbabwe played a 2-2 draw against the African champions, Algeria, at the National Sports Stadium last month.
The Warriors are still in with a strong chance to take the second qualifying slot for the 2021 AFCON finals. Log leaders Algeria were the first to book their place after taking their points tally to 10 following the back-to-back clashes with Zimbabwe last month.
The Warriors are still on five points, one above Botswana and two over Zambia ahead of the last two rounds of qualifiers against the COSAFA neighbours this coming March.
Musona played a leading role in Zimbabwe’s qualification in the previous two editions of the AFCON finals held in Gabon and Egypt and is hungry for a third successive appearance at the continental stage.
He has also scored some crucial goals for Zimbabwe and his presence in the team has been a huge motivation despite his fluctuating form.
Meanwhile, Musona’s Warriors’ teammate Khama Billiat is among seven Kaizer Chiefs players whose contracts with the South African Premiership club expire in 2021.
Billiat joined Amakhosi from Mamelodi Sundowns in June 2018 on a three-year contract with an option of one further year.
The 30-year-old Zimbabwe international has been an ever-present on the Chiefs starting line-up under coach Gavin Hunt with 14 starts this term and the club is most likely to exercise the option on his contract, according to Goal.com.
Another Zimbabwean international Willard Katsande will also see his contract with Chiefs expiring next year.
The veteran defensive midfielder’s contract with Amakhosi was extended by one season in January 2020 and it will expire when the current campaign ends.
Katsande (34) has struggled for game time this term with Njabulo Blom and Anthony Akumu preferred ahead of him and he has started just five games across all competitions. The Herald