Zimbabwe effected revenge on Tanzania for an Africa Cup of Nations  preliminary round qualifier defeat with a resounding 3 nil victory over the Taifa Stars on 13 November at the National Sports Stadium.
The first goal came through the impressive Knowledge Musona whose well placed ball in the 9th minute nestled into the far bottom corner, beyond the reach of Tanzanian goalkeeper, Aishi Manula.
Two quick goals early in the second half from Mathew Rusike and Nyasha Mushekwi killed Tanzania’s hopes of restoring parity as the hosts looked even more threatening after the introduction of Khama Billiat and Tendai Ndoro in the second half.
Rusike’s 53rd minute beauty concluded a move orchestrated by Kuda Mahachi on the right flank before an exchange between Musona and Rusike landed into Mushekwi’s path, who inturn fed the goal scorer.
Four minutes later, Mushekwi bravely headed in a low cross from the left supplied by Musona.
The victory could have been more emphatic for the Kalisto Pasuwa coached side but Ndoro and Rusike were guilty of profligacy in front of goal.
Tanzania had their moments and the score line may not truly reflect the visitors’ performance overall.
Tatenda Mkuruva had to be at his best to deny Tanzania a way through; the Dynamos goalkeeper tipped over a a close range header before keeping out Samatta with an outstretched leg.
At the death of the match, Tanzania almost got a consolation goal but Bruce Kangwa, introduced in place of Onismor Bhasera, was on hand to clear on the line.
Despite letting in three goals, the Tanzanian defence, marshalled by Andrew Chikupe, remained resolute denying centre forward Mushekwi clear-cut opportunities on many occasions.
Pasuwa also afforded Oscar Machapa and Tinotenda Kadewere some game time as he continues to recruit for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Tanzania coach Charles Mkwasa heaped praises on the Zimbabwean team but he also underscored the team’s need for more hard work ahead of the 2017 AFCON finals.
“They [Zimbabwe] are a very good team [with] very experienced players, they utilised the mistakes that we created; I salute them.
[However] they have to work very hard because the teams that are coming to that tournament are well prepared,” he said.
Pasuwa too had positives to note from the game but he had some reservations on his team’s overall performance despite the glossy result.
“I think in terms of possession they were okay but the negative part of it maybe [is that] we [were] taking too much time winning the ball back.
When we lose the ball, some of the boys forget to put pressure on the ball; that is an area we need t work on,” Pasuwa said.
On the makeshift central defence he deployed against Tanzania, Pasuwa said partnering Danny Phiri, a defensive link, with Teenage Hadebe was meant to explore the options that the team can have going forward.
Remember the last time when we played against Zambia we had Lawrence [Mhlanga] and today we wanted to have another option on the centre backs and I think they did well,” he added.
The game against Tanzania was Zimbabwe’s second preparatory match as AFCON 2017 beckons.
On 5 November, a Warriors side made up of local based players edged Zambia 1 nil at the same venue.
Tatenda Mkuruva, Hardlife Zvirekwi (Oscar Machapa), Onismor Bhasera (Bruce Kangwa), Teenage Hadebe, Danny Phiri, Willard Katsande, Mathew Rusike (Khama Billiat),Marvellous Nakamba, Nyasha Mushekwi (Tendai Ndoro), Knowledge Musona, Kudakwashe Mahachi