Zimbabwe soccer coach Callisto Pasuwa yesterday issued an apology to the nation for the Warriors’ poor African Nations Championships campaign in which they were eliminated at the group stage following identical defeats by Zambia and Mali.
The Warriors, losing semi-finalists in Cape Town two years ago, found the going tough in this year’s edition and have had to endure the ignominy of being the only team in the group with neither a goal nor a point.
“I would like to apologise to the nation at large for the results. This isn’t what we would’ve wanted because we were looking at going very far in the competition.
“But when you look at some of the small mistakes that we made in front of goal and in defence they could’ve been avoided.
“We were being caught on restart and from set pieces but it’s part of learning and you can see that the players were now having to make adjustments in a game situation when they could’ve had a chance to polish up from playing a strong team like Angola before coming here,’’ Pasuwa said.
The Warriors mentor said he would draw most lessons “from the positives we saw in our performances so far’’.
Pasuwa also said he had no regrets about resisting the temptation to bring to the Chan tournament some of the older and experienced players from the domestic Premiership.
“When I came (as coach) we wanted to build the future of our squad from Under-23 players and to make that Under-23 side the feeder to the senior team.
“So if we can keep these guys together we can only get better. Obviously we missed someone like Danny Phiri because of his great experience and the fact that he had played in the qualifiers. He could have given the youngsters some direction but unfortunately injuries are also part of the game,’’ Pasuwa said.
Pasuwa suggested that it would be folly for the Warriors to have tried to copy the Zambians who brought to this tournament of home grown talent the veteran trio of Green Buffaloes defender Buchizya Mfune, who is 37-years-old, skipper Christopher Katongo, 34, and midfielder Isaac Chansa (Zanaco), who is 32-years-old.
Chansa scored the winner against Zimbabwe while Katongo was on target in the triumph over Uganda on Saturday with his first half header off a set-piece enough to send Chipolopolo through.