Mapeza shifts focus to Malawi after Warriors’ last minute heartbreak
Despite losing their first match of the rescheduled AFCON 2021 tournament to Senegal in Cameroon, Warriors coach Norman Mapeza said his focus swiftly shifted to their next encounter against Malawi.
Mapeza said this in a media post match interview after the Senegal game that was played on Monday afternoon in Bafoussam, Cameroon.
The match ended in a painful 1-0 defeat to Zimbabwe.
The Warriors lost to Senegal by a goal to nil courtesy of Liverpool’s star player Sadio Mane’s stoppage time penalty.
Referee Mario Escobar awarded the Lions of Teranga a last minute spot kick which marked the difference between the two teams, with only seconds left to full time.
This came after Warriors midfielder Kelvin Madzongwe was penalised for handling the ball in the box in an attempt to block Senegalese player Pape Gueye’s shot.
In protest at the penalty, Warriors players pleaded with the referee to verify his final decision with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
However, the match official resisted and remained confident of his call and with the backing from VAR the penalty stood.
Nevertheless, the heartbreaking defeat left Mapeza ‘unmoved’ but instead revealing to the media that his focus is now on the upcoming game against their sub-Saharan neighbours Malawi.
He also praised his charges for a stellar performance against a star studded Senegal which is currently rated the best African team in the past three years.
“The boys played very well, nobody gave us a chance versus Senegal. I give credit to my boys who worked their socks off and now we focus on our next game against Malawi,” Mapeza said.
Zimbabwe are scheduled to play their second Group B match against Malawi on Friday in Bafoussam, kickoff time is 6pm.
Both teams square-off after having lost their opening matches with the same margin.
Seemingly, a well organised Malawi also suffered a 1-0 loss to another of Zimbabwe’s Group B opponents, Guinea. Nehanda Radio