Home » Sports » Ten Years, 17 Games, No Away Win

THE Warriors loss in their 2015 Nations Cup qualifier in Tanzania might have shocked an expectant nation and sent emotions exploding, but when one looks at the team’s dreadful record on the road, it’s certainly a result that went according to script.

Ian Gorowa and his men complicated their quest for a place in Morocco after they crashed to a 0-1 defeat at the hands of the Taifa Stars in Dar es Salaam on Sunday and now need a big home performance to avoid the humiliation of an early elimination.

The Warriors are battling to end an eight-year wait for a return to the Nations Cup finals but find themselves on the back foot after they fell in Tanzania and, crucially, did not get an away goal that is usually key in such tight battles.

Gorowa invested his trust in the majority of players, who impressed during the CHAN finals, with changes being effected in the team’s attack, which was their Achilles Heel in South Africa, with Cuthbert Malajila and Tendai Ndoro being included in the team.

However, the Warriors fired blanks in Dar es Salaam with Gorowa saying that a number of his players didn’t play to expectations with the coach singling out ageless midfielder Stephen Alimenda, marking his return to the national team, for fighting like a true warrior in Tanzania.

The Warriors’ loss has provoked a national debate, with another Nations Cup campaign on the line, with some fans and critics questioning the coach’s decision to rely predominantly on home-based Warriors.

But statistics, though, show that the Warriors — even when they have had the luxury of the service of their foreign-based players — have generally underperformed away from home in the big Nations Cup or World Cup assignments.

The Warriors are yet to win either a World Cup or Nations Cup qualifier, on foreign soil, in a decade with their last victory having come on July 3, 2004, when they beat Rwanda 2-0 in Kigali in a 2006 Nations CupWorld Cup qualifier.

Then under the guidance of Rahman Gumbo, the Warriors beat the Wasps in their backyard through goals from Peter Ndlovu, the greatest Warrior of all-time and midfielder Tinashe Nengomasha.

Exactly 10 years later, the Warriors are still looking for their first win, on the road, in a Nations CupWorld Cup qualifier and of the 17 matches they have played on the road — in that period — they have lost 13 times and drawn only four games.

The Warriors failed to score in 10 of those matches and only scored more than one goal, in two games — against Algeria in a 2006 World CupNations Cup qualifier on June 19, 2005, with Peter and Shingi Kawondera on target, and against Namibia in a 2010 World CupNations Cup qualifier in Windhoek on October 11, 2008, with Esrom Nyandoro and Cuthbert Malajila scoring for Zimbabwe.

In the past FOUR years only one man, talismanic forward Knowledge Musona, has scored for the Warriors in away World CupNations Cup qualifiers and so depressing has been our situation that we have only scored FOUR goals, on the road, in NINE matches during that period.

Interestingly, all the goals we have scored since 2010 on the road in either a World Cup or a Nations Cup qualifier have been scored by Musona.

He was on target when we drew 1-1 with Liberia in our opening 2012 Nations Cup qualifier in Monrovia, scored our goal in the 1-2 defeat at the hands of Cape Verde in the same qualifiers in Praia, scored our goal in the 1-2 defeat away in Burundi in a 2013 Nations Cup qualifier and scored our goal in the 1-2 defeat in a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Egypt in Alexandria.

During that period, which has covered three Nations Cup and a World Cup, the Warriors have played nine games on the road, failed to score in five of those games, drawn just two against Liberia and Mozambique and lost the other seven.

Musona’s four goals on the road has been the best performance, by a Warrior, in matches away from home in the past 10 years with Peter second on two goals while Benjani, Malajila, Nengomasha and Nyandoro have been on target once.

The failure by the Warriors to score in Tanzania marked the fourth time, in their last five Nations CupWorld Cup qualifiers on the road, with Musona’s goal, in that match against the Pharaohs in Alexandria, being the only island of goal-scoring productivity in a huge ocean of impotence for the team away from home.

Six coaches have been in charge of the Warriors, since Gumbo led them to that victory away in Rwanda 10 years ago and they have taken charge of 17 World CupNations Cup assignments and the common denominator is that they all failed to lead the team to a victory on the road.

Gumbo, who returned for a spell in charge of the team for the 2013 Nations cup qualifiers, did not win a game on the road in the two matches against Burundi (1-2) and Angola (0-2).

The other four – Charles Mhlauri, Valinhos, Norman Mapeza and Dieter Klaus Pagels – failed to guide the Warriors to victory on the road in the Nations CupWorld Cup qualifiers while Gorowa also started on the back foot with that loss in Tanzania.

Although Gorowa is bullish that his men will overturn the deficit, when the Taifa Stars come here, he must be concerned about the way the Warriors have been poor hunters, every time they have gone into foreign territory, and for 10 years now, we have failed to find a way to win away from home.

A Winless Decade On The Road

Zimbabwe’s World CupNations Cup record since their last away win in Rwanda in 2004:

– Angola 1, Zim 0 Algeria 2, Zim 2 (Peter, Kawondera) Nigeria 5, Zim 1 (Benjani) Malawi 1, Zim 0 Morocco 2, Zim 0 Guinea 0, Zim 0 Kenya 2, Zim 0 Namibia 4, Zim 2 (Nyandoro, Malajila) Liberia 1, Zim 1 (Musona) Mali 1, Zim 0 Cape Verde 2, Zim 1 (Musona) Burundi 2, Zim 1 (Musona) Mozambique 0, Zim 0 Angola 2, Zim 0 Egypt 2, Zim 1 (Musona) Guinea 1, Zim 0 Tanzania 1, Zim 0

Source : The Herald