The journey towards a historic All-Africa Games qualification continued for the Zimbabwe Mighty Warriors who posted a well deserved 1-all draw with hosts Angola, in the first leg of the second and final round qualifier played at the Sagrada Esperanca Stadium in Dunda.Playing in a stadium packed with over 8 000 people, the Mighty Warriors showed enough character by salvaging a crucial and hard earned 1-all draw from a match that was characterised by some questionable officiating and a lethargic display by the Zimbabwean team.
Much as the Congolese referee and his assistants short-changed the Zimbabwean team, the Mighty Warriorsâ€™ delivery left a lot to be desired and they were a pale shadow of the team that mesmerised the Zambians.
DRC referee, Mbiyavanga Lulandoâ€™s first questionable decision came in the 19th minute when she awarded Angola a penalty for a purported handling offence by Nobuhle Majika when instead the ball had-hit Majikaâ€™s hip. Mario do Destino converted from the spot.
With the scoreline 1-nill in favour of the hosts by halftime, Zimbabwe returned a more organised side and relentlessly tried to find an equaliser, but the goal was elusive until the 70th minute.
It came from a neat and comprehensive build up involving Eunice Chibanda and Rudo Neshamba with Neshamba skilfully placing the ball behind Rosa Joao to give Zimbabwe the all important equaliser.
The goal reignited the Mighty Warriors form but just when all thought Zimbabwe was going for the killer punch the Congolese referee awarded a second penalty to Angola.
The dubious penalty surprised all including the Angolan journalists and officials but in a typical case of poetic justice, Onai Chingawo in goals rose to block Angolan captain Irene Goncalvesâ€™ spot kick.
In post match interviews, the Angolan coach conceded it was a tough match and that Zimbabwe played better while Mighty Warriors mentor, Mugadza, felt the draw was good result away from home.