ZIMBABWE confirmed their place at next year’s Africa Nations Championship football finals following a goalless draw against hosts Lesotho in Maseru yesterday.
The Warriors progressed on a 3-1 aggregate win courtesy of the first leg success in Harare last month. Coach Joey Antipas’ men did themselves a huge favour in the first leg when they scored three goals at home via a brace from resurgent Highlanders forward Prince Dube and Black Rhinos’ Wellington Taderera.
Zimbabwe needed to safeguard their lead and Antipas made a few changes to his squad by calling Ngezi Platinum defender Frank Makarati for more options at the back.
Midfielders Joel Ngodzo and Kelvin Madzongwe of FC Platinum, who both missed the first leg because their passports had expired, were also roped in after renewing the travelling documents.
Lesotho were still hopeful of staging a comeback after getting an away goal but they were shut out on their home turf yesterday.
The CHAN tournament is exclusive for players that play in their country’s domestic leagues. Zimbabwe missed the previous edition of the finals in Morocco after failing at the last hurdle against Namibia but yesterday’s result in Lesotho ensured they book their ticket for a fifth appearance.
The Warriors played at the inaugural CHAN finals held in Cote d’lvoire in 2009 and then in Sudan in 2011. They also qualified for the 2014 edition in South Africa where they sealed a fourth place finish.
Zimbabwe’s last CHAN finals appearance was in 2016 in Rwanda where they failed to get past the group stage after finishing bottom of their group which included neighbours Zambia, Mali and Uganda.
The 2020 CHAN finals will be held in Cameroon in January next year.
Lesotho …………………….. 0
Zimbabwe ………………… 0