Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
. . . Warriors snatch win
KHAMA Billiat scored in injury time to help Zimbabwe beat Somalia 3-1 to progress to the group stage of the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a heart-wrecking encounter played at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Warriors progressed on a 3-2 aggregate.
Joey Antipas’ men dominated the game but only managed to break the deadlock through a Marshall Munetsi acrobatic from close range in the 77th minute.
As Zimbabwe searched for the winner, having gone into the match looking a for two-goal margin win, the Somalis scored through Omah Abdullah Mohamed five minutes to full time.
Second half substitute Knox Mutizwa gave Zimbabwe hope in the 88th minute when Somalia scored an own goal off his free kick at the edge of the box taking the score line to 2-1.
Zimbabwe lived to their moniker – Warriors – when they kept pressing, with Mutizwa assisting Billiat deep in injury time to snatch a winner.
Antipas described the match as heart-stopping praising his boys for the fighting spirit.
He, however, declined to call Somalia minnows as his boys waited until injury time to escape.
“We played against the so called minnows, but in football there are no minnows anymore and I don’t know why the press keeps talking about minnows. They may be ranked maybe third from the bottom but this team has improved.
“It was heart-stopping stuff, especially when they got the equaliser. But one thing I must say is the spirit and belief of the team never went down, that’s why we managed to get the second goal and the winner.
“The main thing is that we got to believe in ourselves, believe that we can get the positive result. If you look at the game, we dominated. They just relied on counter attacks. We created many chances, which was pleasing but the main thing was putting them away. All we needed was an opening goal, but what makes me very happy was the spirit,” said Antipas.
Antipas said the team got desperate towards the end of the match which nearly cost them just like they did in the reverse fixture in Djibouti.
He said they should search for goals while guarding their goal.
“The guys started getting desperate. One thing for sure is we must keep calm, just keep calm and keep probing.
“One thing we must learn to do is try to be more patient, we kept pushing and pushing and we opened up. So maybe against a better team we could have been punished. Those are the flaws; we need to get ourselves organised,” said Antipas.
The Warriors gaffer believes the team will get stronger if they bring on board some players playing in foreign countries.
“I believe with time and the blessings from Zifa to bring aboard more players that we would have identified from England, I believe that the team would be a very strong side,” he said.