Bruised Warriors shift focus to Bafana Bafana's clash

football08 June 2024 14:00
By:Peter Kanjere
article image
Thabo Lesaoana and Marshall Munetsi © Getty Images

Zimbabwe’s interim coach Jairos Tapera wore a brave face after Friday’s brutal attack by Lesotho’s Crocodiles, saying the Warriors’ shock 2-0 loss would not have a ripple effect on the next encounter against South Africa.

Tapera told a post-match press conference at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg that Friday’s Group C result was now water under the bridge.

“The loss is history and against Bafana Bafana, it is a different game altogether,” he said, “…I am sure we might perform differently against Bafana Bafana.”

The coach admitted that the Warriors need to improve defensively to withstand the pressure from Hugo Broos's men who drew one-all with Nigeria on Friday.

“We need to work on our defence. We also need to work on set-pieces. We were poor when it came to [defending] the set pieces,” Tapera said.

The former Black Leopards handler, a surprise replacement for yet another caretaker coach Norman Mapeza, admitted that the Warriors did not step up to the plate especially in the first half when the Crocodiles attacked.

“I am very much disappointed with the two goals we conceded in the first half. I am not happy at all. Those were basic defensive errors that we could have avoided," he said.

"But we regrouped in the second half. I think we were better off in the second half…we got so many chances. We thought we could have scored one or two goals but unfortunately, it was not our day.”

Rethabile Rasethuntsa and Thabantso Jane scored for Lesotho to go on top of the group with five points from three games, including the brave draws against Nigeria and Benin.

Lesotho, on Tuesday, take on second-placed Rwanda, who have four points at par with third and fourth-positioned Benin and South Africa.

The Super Eagles are second from the basement on three points whereas the Warriors anchor the table with two points.

Overall winners of each of the nine groups will automatically qualify for the World Cup finals from Africa, with the remaining ticket to be competed for by four second-best sides.