The Zimbabwe Under 23 soccer team stormed into the last round of the All Africa games qualifiers after romping to an emphatic 4-1 victory against Botswana at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday afternoon.It was an exciting show which saw the Young Warriors get off to a lightning start with Simba Sithole outsprinting the Young Zebrasâ€™ goalkeeper before slotting home the opener in the 7th minute.
A moment of bad goalkeeping allowed Botswana to crawl their way back 13 minutes later, with Young Warriorsâ€™ goal-minder, Aerial Sibanda, spilling a free-kick into the path of an on rushing Mokolodi Ngelo.
Abbas Amidu however restored the Young Warriors lead after striking a ferocious long range effort, which went beyond the reach of Botswana keeper Kabelo Dambe to give Zimbabwe a 2-1 lead at half time.
The Young Warriors went up a notch in the second half and were duly rewarded for some enterprising play when Qadr Aminiâ€™s overlapping run saw him intelligently set up an unmarked Matthew Rusike, who cooly slotted home to cap off a fine afternoon.
Simba Sithole put the final nail in Botswanaâ€™s coffin 19 minutes from time, heading home a pin point Devon Chafa cross to send the crowd at Rufaro into rapture.
After the match and an emphatic 6-3 aggregate victory following the 2-2 draw in Botswana a fortnight ago, Young Warriors gaffer Friday Phiri was delighted by his charges display, while his Young Zebras counterpart attributed the defeat to loss of concentration in defence and stage fright.
The Zimbabwe Under 23 team will now meet South Africa in the final round of qualifiers, with a two-legged victory securing a berth for the Young Warriors at the All-Africa Games to be hosted by Mozambique in September.