BY HENRY MHARA
ZIMBABWE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
BURKINA FASO . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 3
ZIMBABWE became the first team to crash out of this year’s African Nations Championships (Chan) tournament after they were beaten 3-1 by Burkina Faso in a Group A match at the Ahmadou Ahdjo Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon, last night.
Issouf Sosso gave the Burkinabes a 14th minute lead, which was cancelled out by Partson Jaure 10 minutes later.
But second half goals by Clavert Tiendrebeogo in the 53rd minute and substitute Issiaka Ouedraogo in the 67th minute saw the Stallions beat Zimbabwe for the first time in a competitive match at the fifth attempt.
The defeat means the Warriors are out after they lost their opening match against Cameroon on Saturday.
The Zdravko Logarušić-coached men have no point from their opening two matches, while Burkina Faso have three, and trail the other group members Cameroon and Mali, who are both tied at four points after drawing their match earlier in the day.
Zimbabwe will play Mali in a deadrubber on Sunday, the same time Cameroon will face off with Burkina Faso, with two slots to the quarter-finals at stake.
The Warriors barely trained for this tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic and it was apparent in their performance as they made a series of mistakes.
It was the team’s defence which was Loga’s strongest department in the first match, but on this occasion, they were calamitous as they gave away all the three goals.
Logarušić made six changes to the team that played the opening match with King Nadolo, Tafadzwa Jaravani, Tatenda Tavengwa, Jaure, Farau Matare and Simba Chinani all preferred to start.
Burkina Faso, also desperate to win the match, made six changes to their starting eleven.
After the earlier Group A match between Cameroon and Mali had ended in a 1-1 draw, these two teams were desperate to avoid a defeat to remain with a chance of progressing to the next round and that intention was very clear as they engaged in a shoot-out early on.
Chinani was called into action as early as the second minute when he made a save, blocking a cross from the right after the Burkina Faso strikers had easily gotten behind the Warriors defence.
Zimbabwe had a better chance a minute later to take the lead, but Jaravani missed a sitter, with the Black Rhinos attacker dragging his shot wide from a point blank.
Loga’s men were made to pay for the missed chance when Sosso gave the Stallions the lead after the defenders failed to deal with a cross and the Burkinabe’s shot from outside the box flew past Chinani.
The Warriors frantically tried to come back into the match and were rewarded for their hard work when Jaure popped up from the right after some clever interchanges involving Nadolo to lash in a low shot into the net.
But the goal only looked to have invigorated the Stallions, who then laid siege onto the Warriors defence, with Chinani forced to make a string of saves to keep his side in the match going into the half time break.
Two minutes after the break, Chinani was working again as he made a save, but there was nothing he could do for the second goal.
After he had parried a shot onto the post, his defenders were caught ball watching and Clavert reacted faster to roll the ball home.
This was also after a series of mistakes by the defenders, who failed to clear their lines.
Chinani, for his part, was also making uncharacteristic errors and while he got away with a number of them in the first half, he was not lucky for Burkina Faso’s third goal.
He handled the ball outside his box and from the freekick, Burkina Faso took the match away from Zimbabwe as Ouedraogo’s shot took a huge deflection off Ian Nekati hit the nets.