THERE are 11 things that we probably picked from our Warriors' shock 0-1 defeat to Guinea in a 2014 World Cup qualifier at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Pathetic all-round performance
Atrocious! As insipid and uninspiring a performance as you will ever see. Maybe we overate the quality of our team, but then again, Guinea are not exactly world beaters and, in our backyard, there is no excuse for not beating them. That we are the ONLY African team to lose at home over the weekend is testimony of how pathetic we were.
A midfield plucked from hell
The midfield was badly set up from the beginning. If Rahman's strategy was to deploy two anchormen in the center of the pitch, then the choice to start with Gutu was as wrong as it was unfair on the young man; everyone knows he is not a ball winner or a grafter. If, on the other hand, he wanted one anchorman then the strategy to have Gutu playing deep was just shocking. Firstly, there was no need for two anchormen while playing at home and, secondly, why oh why, was Gutu, and later on Katsande, playing so deep when we all know that they can provide so much when going forward and when we all know that Father is quite capable of playing the holding position without any assistance?
Formation, where we got it wrong
Perhaps the biggest mistake by Rahman was to opt for a 4-4-2 formation. With such a formation, the two central midfielders must necessarily be deep lying and one of the two strikers must then roam behind the other (take the way Rooney and Tevez do it for the Manchester clubs for example). Unfortunately, the Musona-Chinyama combination failed in this respect and it does not look promising as a future partnership. The brutal reality is that in future, the two must not start together. A 4-5-1 formation might be the solution, with either Mukamba or Gutu behind the lone striker.
Machapa isn't a wingback anymore
Machapa is good, really good, but anyone who has bothered to watch Super Diski recently knows that he is no longer a wingback, but is now an attacking winger who thrives on strength and bulldozing runs.
Musona missing game time
Sunday's game proved, once again, that it doesn't matter where you do it, if you sit on the bench, your game will suffer. There is no scientific substitute for regular game time and regardless of his undeniable talent, one cannot deny that Knowledge's game has taken a knock. A least, our hope lies in the fact that class is permanent and we know he will be back to his classy self soon.
Wow, where did Mandaza go?
By the way, did anyone see where Terence Mandaza went after coming in for Chinyama? My guess is he just proceeded straight to the changing room. Granted, we are short of striking staff at the moment but Mr Mandaza is not, by any stretch of imagination, national team material. And to think the coach expected a goal from him...
Esrom must hold his head high
Before the game started, we were complaining about Esrom's inclusion in the starting line-up but, boy oh boy, we were wrong. Esrom is the only Warrior to leave the pitch with his head held high. Good game, Mr Veteran, Sir!
The wingers that were never there
Our major downfall was our wings. The wingbacks and their attacking counterparts connived to dish out inept performances. Oscar was slow as a fullback while his attacking partner, Ovidy, huffed and puffed to no avail, coupled with the most selfish decision-making of the afternoon. Vusa simply had a terrible day in the office while his attacking accomplice, Khama, was so bad he thought he was the one being substituted when Guinea were substituting their number 11; even he must have been shocked he had lasted that long.
Who the hell is the groundsman?
Whoever is employed as a groundsman at the National Sports Stadium must be brought before a disciplinary committee and be charged of dereliction of duty. To say the National Sports Stadium is a Potato Field is a compliment.
A soft goal, like Softex tissues
The goal we conceded was so soft it must have made even the Softex tissue manufacturers really jealousy. Having organised his wall to cover his right side, we at least expected Kapini to fully cover the other side. As it turned out, we overrated Campos' abilities.
Beaten all systems out
Outfought, out-thought, out-muscled, outwitted and outscored, if we continue in this fashion, we will be soon be out of the running for qualification. As a coach, Gumbo must take the blame, but so too should our profligate strikers and holidaying midfielders. Whatever remedial action is to be taken, it must be taken now before it's too late!