17 October 2018

Congo-Kinshasa/Zimbabwe: Musona Salutes Troops

Warriors captain Knowledge Musona revealed he had struggled to contend with having to follow his team's proceedings from the terraces, but saluted his troops for grinding out a crucial point against plucky DRC that left them still in charge of their qualification bid last night.

It was the first time that the talismanic forward was missing a Warriors game through suspension with the only time he has sat being at the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon when injury ruled him out of the game against Senegal.

The Anderlecht man, Zimbabwe's leading soccer in this campaign said he felt saddened that he could not play a part in last night's 1-1 draw between the Warriors and the DRC Leopards at the National Sports Stadium.

This follows the red card he received in the reverse fixture in Kinshasa, which came five minutes after he had scored a wonder goal that had thrust the Warriors into a 2-0 lead.

Ronald Pfumbidzai had given the Warriors a first half lead while DRC's West Ham United forward Yannick Bolasie pulled one back for the Leopards in injury time.

Musona said although they would have loved to seal their qualification, the point they gained ensured they remain on top of the group with two more games to spare.

"It's so sad that I was not playing but I think the guys really did a great job. A point was good enough for us because we wanted to avoid a loss.

"We wanted a win to just clear ourselves at the top of the log but I'm happy with the result. I also think that the guys who replaced me or the guys who played today did a good job. We deserved to win but we'll take the draw" Musona said.

In Musona's absence, Ovidy Karuru wore the captain's armband and the AmaZulu midfielder who played for 78 minutes insisted they had missed the influence of their skipper.

Karuru said Musona's experience and individual brilliance was "badly needed" as the Warriors looked to secure a place at the Nations Cup finals in Cameroon with two games to spare.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Nations Cup show-piece and Zimbabwe enjoy a three-point advantage at the top.

"Knowledge can get a goal out of nothing so we really missed him today because we know he is a killer. We also missed Alec Mudimu but I think the guys who came in for them did very well also.

"I think we should have wrapped the game in the first half because we created quite a number of chances but unfortunately the referee decided otherwise with our second goal. I'm sure if he had said it was a goal then we would have scored more goals.

"Overall we played well as a team considering that we travelled to DRC and came back and we only trained one day. I think we did well because we only trained for like two days only, two training sessions. We were not used to the pitch but I think the boys did well today," he said.

Wales-based defender Mudimu Also sat out last night's game after picking two yellow cards in this campaign.

Mudimu said he had been eager to make his home debut for the Warriors but will now have to wait to do so next month when they play Liberia.

"It was very emotional for me because it was supposed to be my first game at home and I really wanted to take part in it. "You know sometimes football is a wicked game and unfortunately I have not been able to take part. I'm so proud of the team.

"We stay top of the group and we have just proved to everyone who was watching and Africa that we are part of the greatest teams in Africa and I feel that the only way from here is up. "Whether I played or not makes no difference, I'm so proud of the team and what they came up with today," Mudimu said.

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