Zimbabwe’s Warriors have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals after beating the Zebras of Botswana 1-0 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown.
The victory saw Zimbabwe shoot to eight points, three behind leaders Algeria, who also qualified with 11 points. They settled for a 3-3 draw with Zambia.
Perfect Chikwende scored the crucial goal for Zimbabwe.
ZIFA technical advisor, Wilson Mutekede, praised the Warriors for beating the Zebras, saying Zimbabweans will be happy about their performance.
“We are very happy about what the Warriors did here and we believe that Zimbabweans are happy too.”
Mutekede said the Warriors are expected to play well also against Zambia at the National Sports Stadium next week.
With one game left before the marathon qualifying campaign winds up, Zambia who have four points, cannot catch up with the Warriors even if they beat Zimbabwe.
Botswana too will only finish on seven points should they win their last game in Algeria.
This means the game between Zimbabwe and Zambia at the National Sports Stadium is now for purposes of fulfilling a fixture as the Warriors have already qualified for a fifth Nations Cup appearance following successes in 2004, 2006, 2017 and 2019.
The soccer squad’s success comes as welcome relief to Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, who was facing criticism following the Warriors’ disastrous show at Chan 2021 where they lost all their three matches.
The Warriors now need to prepare fully for the Afcon finals in Cameroon after their disappointing performance in the last tournament in Egypt where they picked up only one point from three matches.
Shingi Madondo, Michael Kariati and Gibbs Dube contributed to this article.