Antipas close to land top job after historic win over Zambia

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Tadious Manyepo

 

Harare - Zimbabwe Warriors interim coach Joey Antipas could as well land the post on a substantive basis after masterminding a historic win over Zambia in the much-anticipated Battle of the Zambezi in Lusaka.

Both the Warriors and Chipolopolo were under pressure to win the gigantic battle at the National Heroes Stadium on Tuesday night.

Zambia had flattered to deceive in their opening group game against champions Algeria.

The Southern Africa team lost 0-5 and they needed to redeem themselves in the fragile encounter against Zimbabwe.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe had drawn 0-0 against Botswana at home. 

Their overall performance in that match didn't help matters either as they resorted to long aimless balls upfield. 

But on Tuesday evening, the Warriors got their nerves on and nailed Zambia in a match which the Zambian fans ended up throwing missiles onto the field.

"We are very happy as a team, we managed to win against Zambia. Zambia is a powerhouse and to beat them in their own home shows how well-meaning we have become as a team. I am ecstatic. We look forward to the next matches," said Antipas after the match.

His Zambian counterpart, Aggrey Chiyangi failed to entertain journalists as he felt the heat with irate supporters calling for his immediate resignation.

But, instead it is Antipas who announced his decision to quit the post, less than 24-hours after the win which is still being celebrated in Zimbabwe.

But the Zimbabwe Football Association sweet-talked him to stay amid indications he would be given the job on a full-time status. 

"I have stepped down as the Zimbabwe Warriors interim coach. We worked together well with everyone at the team and the authorities. For now, let me concentrate on my team, Chicken Inn, which is in the title-race matrix," he had said.

Antipas was hired as a stop-gap resort to the biggest coaching post in Zimbabwean football after the resignation of former coach, the legendary Sunday Chidzambwa.

The latter resigned after Zimbabwe's failure to do well at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt mid this year.

Antipas has been in charge of the Warriors in the 2022 FIFA World Cup preliminary round qualifier against Somalia.

Zimbabwe lost the first leg before they bounced back to win 3-1 in a nerve-wrecking match in Harare.

Zimbabwe are on second place with four points from two matches, two behind Algeria in the Group H of the AFCON 2021 campaign.

Two teams from each group qualify for the biannual tournament slated for Cameroon in two years. 

 

 

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