By Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe ……(2) 2
Zimbabwe win 5-4 after penalties
ZIMBABWE made a winning return to competitive football following a two year absence from the international game after beating regional rivals Namibia 5-4 on penalties to win the invitational President’s Inauguration Cup at the National Sports Stadium on Monday.
The match was arranged to celebrate the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
For Zimbabwe, it was their first international football match since they played against Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations match in January last year before their suspension from international football by FIFA for alleged third-party interference in the administration of the local game.
After the lifting of the FIFA suspension last month, Zimbabwe was yet to play any competitive match until Monday’s encounter.
The Warriors squad which featured players from local clubs was led by the legendary coach Sunday Chidzambga assisted by Lizwe Sweswe.
Playing in front of a near capacity crowd at the National Sports Stadium, the Warriors got off to a dream start after breaking the deadlock in the second minute through Mthokozisi Msebe, who coolly slotted home from inside the box.
With the local players hoping to impress ahead of the upcoming African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers, the Warriors were in total control in the early stages of the game.
However, Namibia soon found their way into the game and equalised on the half hour mark through Jackson Eliakim.
Zimbabwe hit back almost immediately to reclaim their lead with a well-taken goal by Farai Banda in the 36th minute.
Namibia finished the half strongly and continued to dominate in the early stages of the second half before they deservedly equalised again in the 64th minute through a goal by Edward Kambanda after some poor defending by the Warriors.
Namibia could have completed the turnaround as they missed a sitter late in the match before the match ended in a stalemate.
Zimbabwe held their nerve to win the deciding penalty shootout 5-4 after converting five of their six kicks, while Namibia missed two.