We could have done better, says Mapeza

Mapeza was sent off for dissent and running onto the pitch after the referee waived away appeals for fouls on his players.

WARRIORS coach Norman Mapeza  has admitted that his squad should have performed better in Tuesday night's 3-1 loss to Kenya in the four-nations competition final.

Zimbabwe took an early lead but Kenya rallied back in the eventful match, which saw three red cards flashed.

Mapeza was sent off for dissent and running onto the pitch after the referee waived away appeals for fouls on his players.

He acknowledged that he overreacted but felt he was hard-done considering the Kenya officials also ran onto the pitch in the second half melee. 

“First, I should congratulate Kenya for winning the match, but to us we played very well mostly in the first half. We stuck to our plan and got the early goal as we planned, but in some moments, Kenya dominated before we came back but unfortunately, we conceded in the final three minutes," Mapeza observed.

Zimbabwe conceded the first goal in the referee's optional time of the first half and Mapeza thought it could have been avoided.

“We could have done better though we had some fouls waved away hence all of us overreacted, getting into the pitch. Their coach was on the pitch as I, but unfortunately, I got sent off,” he said.

“I think my boys got  psychologically affected after the incident. Generally, I am impressed with how they stuck to our plan earlier even though we later allowed them to take control of the game."

The four-nations that also, include hosts Malawi and Zambia, helps the teams to prepare for the Fifa World Cup qualifiers slated for June.

Captain Marshall Munetsi said the tournament was good preparation for the competitive matches that are coming up.

"For us it wasn’t a loss, we are preparing for June. We could have done better, we have things to learn,” Munetsi said.

“Unfortunately, there was an incident that happened in the field of play with the referees. Such incidents tarnish our image as a continent, we need to change and move forward.”

Mapeza went with predominantly the same squad that started the Zambia match, but Tawanda Maswanhise, Shane Maroodza and Puthi later got a run as they made their international bow.

Considering that it was only a friendly match, many expected Mapeza to give the incoming players more minutes, but his team selection sent tongues wagging.

Simba Bhora's Junior Makunike made his first start in national team colours before he was replaced by Brendon Galloway after giving a good account of himself.

Andy Rinemhota ran proceedings in the midfield for Zimbabwe, while Macauley Bonne was full of energy up front.

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