Mapeza moves to fix strike-force flaws

14 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
Mapeza moves to fix strike-force flaws Norman Mapeza

The ManicaPost

Tadious Manyepo in BAFFOUSAM, Cameroon and Ray Bande in MUTARE

IT is a department that has proved to be Zimbabwe’s weakest link in recent games.

A return of just two goals in seven games is just unacceptable for a whole national team.

Warriors coach, Norman Mapeza, and his predecessor and Croatian national, Zdravko Logarusic have tried in vain to address the problem.

Even before poster-boy and Kaizer Chiefs striker Khama Billiat called time on his illustrious career with the national team, the shortcomings in front of goal were still glaring.

Zimbabwe opened their African Cup of Nations campaign here on Monday with a painful last minute 0-1 loss to giants, Senegal.

They were good as a unit and their above average performance won them critical acclaim at the Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium.

Probably the script would have been even sweeter had they been clinical in front of goal.

They were smart enough to create scoring opportunities, but clearly lacked the bite.

It is against this background that Mapeza has been working with a bias towards this aspect as Zimbabwe play Malawi in their second match at the jamboree.

The two Southern African sides find themselves in the same situation and they both desperately need to bag maximum points given that they faltered in their opening encounters.

Like Zimbabwe, Malawi lost their first game to the other West African giant in Group B, Guinea by an identical score-line.

And Mapeza, who spent the week raising concerns over the strike-force, insists his charges should pay attention when attacking.

“Yes, it is not a secret that we have been misfiring upfront. We need to be more clinical if we are to win games,” said Mapeza.

“In the first match against Senegal, we created good opportunities which we should have buried with better decision-making.

“All the other aspects including defensive and midfield play were spot on. We need to be more effective when venturing forward.

“We have been working and continue to work towards improving this area. You need to win games and the only way to win them is by scoring goals. We have tried to work out to address these shortcomings and I hope we will come right against Malawi on Friday (today),” added Mapeza.

With captain Knowledge Musona, who has endured a barren spell since scoring a penalty in the 1-3 defeat to Ghana in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Cape Coast last October, failing to train on Wednesday due to a flue bout, Mapeza could be forced to look elsewhere for goals.

It is not given though that Musona is not taking part in today’s match as he was expected to train last night.

But there are a whole lot of attacking personnel in the house who should step in and help foot the scoring bill.

The highly-rated Lyon star, Tino Kadewere, Scotland-based David Moyo, Admiral Muskwe, Ishmael Wadi and Kuda Mahachi among others can all rescue the team against Malawi.

Zimbabwe needs to win against Malawi to retain a practical chance of progressing to the knock-out stages.

After their game against the Flames, the Warriors will head to the capital, Yaoundé where they will conclude group business against Guinea next Tuesday.

The arrival of United Kingdom-based Jordan Zemura in Cameroon has also given fans reason to believe that Zimbabwe will be vicious in attack.

Paul Sigauke of Dreamhouse in Mutare, said: “We played really well in the game against Senegal. We all know that The Lions of Teranga were pre-tournament favourites and many still believe that Senegal can go all the way to win it, but somehow we managed to hold them for the greater part of the match. We were just unlucky. Now that Jordan Zemura is with the team, I have no doubt that we will be more vicious in attack.”

Mutare-based staunch Liverpool and Dynamos supporter, Munyaradzi Zinomwe, said: “One thing I liked about the game we played on Monday is that we managed to make Senegal look like any ordinary team, with world class stars such as Sadio Mane being reduced to ordinary players. That was commendable and I hope that we will beat Malawi. The arrival of Zemura gives us an edge over Malawi.”


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