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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Afcon 2021 Qualifiers: Zimbabwe coach Antipas hails positive mentality as Zambia blame defenders

18:49 EAT 20/11/2019
Danny Phiri Tendayi Darikwa Ovidy Karuru Marshal Munetsi Evans Rusike and Teenage Hadebe of Zimbabwe.
The Warriors' bid for Afcon qualification received a boost as Chipolopolo plunged further into trouble

Coach Joey Antipas has credited a “positive mentality” for driving Zimbabwe to beat Zambia 2-1 in Tuesday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group H qualifier at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.

A Khama Billiat brace helped Zimbabwe move up to second place in the group after sinking Zambia, who attempted to come back through Patson Daka’s goal.

Antipas is believed to have resigned as Zimbabwe coach on Wednesday but would have departed a proud man after helping the Warriors recover from a frustrating 0-0 draw with Botswana at home four days earlier.

The draw with Botswana saw Antipas and his players being ridiculed by Warriors fans, but the team managed to pick themselves up in Lusaka, leaving the coach hailing his men’s attitude.

“We are very happy as a team after we managed to beat Zambia in their backyard,’’ Antipas was quoted as saying by the Herald.

“We came with a positive mentality and played positive football. The game was a balanced affair and we are happy we managed to find our way back after that poor draw in our opener against Botswana.

“We are relieved as a team and we look forward to the next matches next year.”

For bottom side Zambia, it was another catastrophic outing which followed a 5-0 hammering by Algeria in their group opener last Thursday.

Chipolopolo interim coach Aggrey Chiyangi then snubbed the post-match press conference, sending his assistant Numba Mumamba to face the media, with the latter blaming their defenders for Tuesday’s result.

“Apologies for this loss at home. We know we have disappointed the passionate fans, it was a lack of communication in defence,” Mumamba said according to the Herald.

“Otherwise, we played well. We should even have won the game had we converted our chances.”

Chiyangi’s roping in of Daka straight from the Under-23 Afcon almost paid off as the Red Bull Salzburg player scored his side's only goal in the qualifiers to date.

Zambia will now try to recover in these qualifiers when they host Botswana in August next year.