Late drama saw the Zimbabwe senior men’s football team progressing to the group stages of the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers after a scrappy 3-1 win over Somalia at the National Sports stadium this Tuesday.
The warriors scrapped through to the group phase of the 2022 world cup qualifiers after a nerve wrecking contest at the national sports stadium.
Zimbabwe were not at their fluid best, but still managed to progress courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate victory over the Ocean Stars of Somalia after winning the second leg 3-1 this Tuesday.
Despite struggling to assert themselves following an array of missed chances the Warriors broke the dead-lock in the 77th minute when French based midfielder Marshall Munetsi produced a spectacular bicycle kick off a Kuda Mahachi corner.
Somalia sent the hosts into silence 6 minutes from time when Omar Abdullah Mohamed capitalised on sloppy defending by Teenage Hadebe.
With their backs against the wall, the Warriors showed character in the final stages of the match.
Second half substitute Knox Mutizwa repaid the faith shown in him by Joey Antipas when he struck home a freekick just outside the 18 yard area in the 86th minute.
With 4 minutes added on, star forward Khama Billiat provided the x-factor and produced a clinical finish which ensured Zimbabwe sealed qualification to the group stages of the world cup qualifiers.
Warriors interim coach Joey Antipas was happy with the result while his counterpart Bashir Hayford expressed displeasure with what he deemed to have been poor officiating.
“These days there are no small teams in football, I don’t know why the media always write about such things. I am happy with the result but going forward we need to work very hard and prepare in time for future assignments,” said Antipas.
“Of course we lost but I am quite disappointed with some of the referees decisions. My boys gave their best and I believe moving forward we will become a better team with more exposure on the international arena” said Hayford.
The next phase will be a group format where 10 group winners will progress to a third round with 10 nations having their fate decided by two legged ties.
Five African countries will progress to the 2022 World Cup to be hosted by Qatar.