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Warriors hit rock bottom

With the defeat, Zimbabwe were left rooted on two points and winless after three matches.

The Warriors firmly sunk to the bottom of Group C of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers after they recorded one of their worst results by losing to Lesotho.

With the defeat, Zimbabwe were left rooted on two points and winless after three matches.

This was supposed to be a day that the Zimbabwe national team players would shine in front of a colourful partisan crowd yet they contrived to be a big disappointment.

Fans were pumped up and full of energy but two first half goals sucked that energy out.

Goalkeeper Donovan Bernard, liable for the first goal and Teenage Hadebe to blame for the second, both had a nightmare of a match.

Zimbabwe started off full of energy feeding off their bouncing band of fans, yet Lesotho won a corner from their first meaningful attack which they made the most from.

Bernard failed to cut off the cross only for defender Rethabile Rasethuntsa to tap home. Despite complaints by Zimbabwe captain Marshall Munetsi that the goalkeeper had been fouled, the referee gave it after 20 minutes.

At that point it looked like it would be just a minor setback particularly after Daniel Msendami tested the Lesotho goalkeeper followed by Munetsi's well taken free-kick which was beaten out for a corner.

Debutant Tawanda Chirewa crashed his shot against the cross bar

Msendami then tested the Lesotho goalie before Munetsi made him work again from a free kick

With momentum seemingly swinging in the Warriors favour, disaster struck with Lesotho getting the second goal through Jane Thabantso.

From then on the Warriors huffed and puffed to no avail.

On 40 minutes, penalty shouts were waved away by the referee as Zimbabwe piled on the pressure with suspicion of a handball inside the box.

The second-half was much better for Zimbabwe in terms of performance yet all the pressure failed to pay off.

Coach Jairosi Tapera took out Jordan Zemura and Tino Kadewere for Tawanda Maswanhise and Tymon Machope.

The two were bright with Maswanhise probing from the wings while Machope gave the Lesotho defenders a lot of homework.

Munetsi got better with dangerous drives into opposition territory while left back Devine Lunga showed why he makes it into one of Africa's best sides Mamelodi Sundowns.

Munetsi drove into the box but misplaced his cross which was a big let off for Lesotho five minutes after the break. In the 73rd minutes the referee denied Zimbabwe what looked like a clear penalty after Machope muscled his way into the box before he was fouled by the goalkeeper.

All pleas fell on deaf ears.

Tapera conceded disappointment after the match especially with the way they conceded the two goals.

“The two goals that we conceded in the first-half, were basic defensive errors that could have been avoided. We regrouped in the second half. We were better and the performance was better. We got so many chances, even in the first-half we got so many chances. We should have scored at least a goal or two but it wasn't our day in terms of scoring," he said.

Tapera said his team needs more time together for them to gel.

"Some of these movements in defending requires some time to continuously improve so that the players understand how we want to play. We will try to soldier on and we will have a word or two with the players. We have a day or two to try and rectify those mistakes. We also need to work on the setpieces because we were very poor on corner kicks and free kicks. We had so many free kicks and corner kicks but we were very poor in terms of converting those chances we got from setpieces. Surely, the open chances that we got were almost six but we couldn't convert even one. It's worrisome that we concede and we don't score. It's something that we need to sit down and analyse to try and improve."

Lesotho coach Leslie Notsi conceded that they played a much better side but their game plan worked well for them.

"It was a very tight match like we had expected. We were playing one of the best teams in the region and we knew that they would come strong at us especially in the wings and that is what happened but we had to prepare ourselves well in terms of how to keep the tactical discipline. The expectation was that in the first 15 minutes they would come strong, but we also anticipated them to make mistakes and capitalise in the spaces that they leave behind. It came out that way.

“Zimbabwe is a new team so we are expecting that even though they have the talent, they also lack cohesion. There are those slight mistakes that would come out and we should utilise them."

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