Zimbabwe Warriors fall in the cauldron of MonroviaThomas Kwenaite
Zimbabwe remained top of Group G with eight points, but their dreams of securing qualification to the African Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon have been delayed by a spirited Liberia who handed the Warriors a 1-0 defeat in Monrovia on Sunday.
A listless Zimbabwe took the field a hot afternoon and supporters back in Harare and Bulawayo must have been gutted by the performance of a team they had come to admire and love as they went about their paces as if they were in a trance.
And their trusted forward and usual match winner Khama Billiat was a huge disappointment and had to be substituted in the 80th minute as he hardly had any influence on the game while Knowledge Musona was also missing in action, such was their ineffectiveness.
Liberia tested out Zimbabwe goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda in the 34th minute, with Mamelodi Sundowns forward Anthony Laffor unleashing a rocket like shot that was sensationally fisted over the bar by the goalkeeper.
But, it wouldn’t have counted as the assistant referee had already raised his flag, claiming the striker had strayed into forbidden territory before smashing his attempt.
Zimbabwe improved their passing and injected some rhythm in their movements and Le Havre striker Tatenda “Tino” Kadewere should have given them the lead when he turned a defender then firing disappointingly over the bar when a simple pass would have been a better option.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane must have been impressed by the performance of Laffor, who has not seen much action due to injury, but was a livewire as he once again capitalized on a poor clearance and tried to lob the goalkeeper, but missed the target narrowly.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 72nd minute, with Tonia Tisdell providing a low cross from the left which handed captain William Jebor a tap-in from close range – The Lone Stars’ goal brought the crowd to life in Monrovia.