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Warriors' Afcon dream shattered

by Staff reporter
01 Apr 2021 at 06:41hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE'S dream to participate at the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon next year was shattered yesterday after they were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player - captain Knowledge Musona in their 1-0 victory over neighbours Botswana last week.

A letter from the Confederation of African Football (Caf ) dated 1 April 2021 shows that the Warriors captain accumulated three consecutive yellow cards in matches against Zambia and Algeria (back-to-back) which made him ineligible for the clash against Botswana.

It was not immediately clear by the time of going to print last night whether Zifa had received the correspondence regarding the latest setback from the continental soccer mother body.

Repeated efforts to seek clarification from Zifa officials were fruitless, while Warriors general manager Wellington Mupandare was not picking calls. However, verified statistics show that the Warriors captain, indeed, was sitting on three yellow cards ahead of the match against Botswana which made him ineligible.

The development is a big blow for the team which had qualified under difficult circumstances considering most of the regular players had failed to turn up for the match due to varied reasons including COVID-19 concerns and injuries.

Musona eventually led a severely depleted squad to Botswana, but the Warriors defied odds staked against them to edge Botswana 1-0 courtesy of a header by Perfect Chikwende who profited from a rebound after a speculative shot by Musona was parried onto his path by the goalkeeper.

Ironically, Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic rested Musona and other key players, including Teenage Hadebe for the dead rubber match against Zambia at home on Monday which they lost 2-0, fearing they could pick more cards ahead of the finals which have been moved to January next year.

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Source - newsday

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