The body language of the Zimbabweans moments to kickoffs of their second 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) against Mali showed a side that was determined to pick their first three points of the tournament.

However, they were beaten 1-0 courtesy of Moussa Sissoko’s 81st minute strike at the Group D base of Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu on Saturday.

Zimbabwe’s endless attacks from the start were testament to the fact that they were hungry for an early goal. They weren’t any different from the other African sides playing at CHAN 2016.

Rodreck Mutumwa, Edmore Chirambadare and Marshal Tatenda all failing to make their presence felt in front of Mali’s goal. Though you can’t take a thing away from Mali’s defense who intercepted Zimbabwe’s best moves when it looked like the Southern Africans had found a breakthrough.

The second half offered pretty much the same highlights from the first until the coaches started to make their moves. Mali’s Drame Djibril brought on Aliou Dieng a defender and N’Guessan Koume a striker for Yves Bissouma a midfielder and Abdoul Karim Dante a defender respectively.

zimbabwe mali chan 2016

Zimbabwe’s Pasuwa Kalisto brought on striker William Manondo for Chirambadare who would have single-handedly won Zimbabwe the game early in the first half. Mutuma was also rested for Fransisco Zekumbawira but still the sluggishness in front of Mali’s goal and with eight minutes to play, Moussa Sissoko punished the Zimbabweans when he tapped in Lassana Samake’s free kick.

The three points put Mali at four points in the group table as they waited for the result between Uganda and Zambia. The lose, which is Zimbabwe’s second in two games disqualifies them from the tournament with a fixture against Uganda yet to be played.

Senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering volleyball, football and badminton

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