In a disappointing turn of events for the Zimbabwe Senior Men’s football team, they suffered a 4-3 penalty shoot-out loss to Botswana in a match commemorating Botswana’s Independence Cup on Saturday. This marked a discouraging start to their quest to regain their former glory in continental football.
The defeat also marked a less-than-ideal beginning for the newly appointed Warriors coach, Baltemar Brito. Taking charge of Zimbabwe’s most popular team just last Thursday, Brito had limited time to prepare his squad for competitive football.
Zimbabwe’s Obriel Chirinda, playing for Bulawayo Chiefs, gave his team the lead with a remarkable long-range goal in the 66th minute. However, the Warriors were unable to savour their advantage for long, as Lemogang Maswena swiftly equalized for Botswana a minute later.
With the game deadlocked after regular time, the outcome was decided through a penalty shoot-out. Botswana managed to convert four of their penalty kicks, while Brighton Manhire from Highlanders and Mthokozisi Msebe from Bulawayo Chiefs missed theirs, resulting in a 4-3 victory for the hosts.
Reflecting on the match, coach Brito expressed his satisfaction with the performance of his team, despite the loss. He admitted that he had limited knowledge about Botswana before preparing for the clash.