Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambga has reserved praises for his charges despite Zimbabwe being held by Uganda at the Cairo International Stadium in their second game of the Africa Cup of Nations and still searching for their first full set of points.
The Warriors who began their 2019 AFCON campaign on low note triggered by a 1-0 defeat by Egypt created several chances against Uganda but they fluffed all but one of them with the Cranes getting away with a vital point that took their tally to four.
Zimbabwe had always been left in a difficult position after losing to the Pharaohs but Chidzambga drew a lot of positives after the draw on Wednesday night
“I congratulate Uganda, they have four points and are near qualification. We played better than the opening game against Egypt and missed many chances. I thank my players on this better performance. When you lose the first game this affects your morale negatively. I hope we can get a positive result against DR Congo and reach the next round.
“I think everyone who saw the game can agree with me that we put up a better performance in our attacking third,’’ Chidzamgwa said.
The Cranes scored first through Emmanuel Okwi but Zimbabwe equalized five minutes to half-time through star forward Khama Billiat. The Warriors now have just one point after losing their opening game to hosts Egypt.
Skipper Knowledge Musona missed a beautiful chance with a gaping goalmouth in front of him five minutes after the break after Ovidy Karuru’s cross was deflected to his path.
In the 68th minute, substitute Evans Rusike saw his point blank effort cleared off the line beautifully by Uganda keeper Denis Onyango after the initial save had slipped under his arms.
The Cranes had shot into the lead after 11 minutes when Okwi scored his second goal of the tournament with a tap in from close range after Zimbabwe keeper George Chigova spilled a shot from Abdu Lumala.
Despite conceding early the Warriors then seized the intuitive and it seemed a matter of time before they got their own breakthrough.
And it duly arrived five minutes before just as many in the stands were preparing for the half-time break.
Yet earlier in the 22nd minute, Musona had a chance when he was picked out by a cross from the left before controlling and turning, but his shot was off target. Four minutes later, Billiat had an effort with a low shot which went wide.
Zimbabwe’s goal came via some fine combination involving Musona who chested the ball through for Karuru and who in turn found space down the left and ran into it.
The AmaZulu midfielder then picking out Billiat with a low cross that the Kaizer Chiefs forward flicked with his side-foot ahead of former Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Onyango.
Billiat, duly named Total Man of the Match said: I thank God and my teammates and supporters. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but I hope we can do it against DR Congo. I felt we will score again and win but we didn’t do that. Uganda is a very good team’’.
Cranes coach Sebastien Desabre
“We played under big pressure. I wished we could have been more organized but I’m proud of my players. I love being in Egypt, the country I like. We will see how Egypt plays, but now I’m just thinking of my team.
Zimbabwe now face DR Congo in the final Group A matches the 30th June stadium while Egypt date Uganda on the same day and time at Cairo International.