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WHOLE NATION IS HAPPY: OCEAN

WARRIORS skipper, Ocean Mushure has described Zimbabwe’s Cosafa Cup final win over Zambia in South Africa at the weekend, as incredible and deserved, saying the victory had left the whole country happy.

BY HENRY MHARA IN SUN CITY SOUTH AFRICA

Player of the tournament, Knox Mutizwa’s opportunistic first half goal and two other strikes by man of the match, Talent Chawapiwa and Mushure, on the other side of the break, were enough to overpower Chipolopolo, who had equalised through Lubia Mundia.

The victory gave Zimbabwe a record fifth Cosafa Cup title, while coach, Sunday Chidzambwa became the most successful coach in the tournament with three gold medals.

There was also another record broken by the Warriors camp, as the team’s co-captain, Ovidy Karuru finished the tournament with six goals from as many matches to win the Golden Boot Award.

The triumph left Mushure, who scored four goals in the tournament, delighted.

“We had promised our supporters we would bring the trophy home, and thank God, we managed to do that. It was a tough tournament, playing six games in a space of two weeks. We showed incredible strength and will to go all the way. We played well from the start to the end. I’m proud of the boys, we deserved it. Like you saw, we made our supporters at the stadium and those back home happy,” he said.

Zimbabwe were by far the best team at the tournament, scoring an incredible 19 goals, with Karuru, Mutizwa (5) and Mushure taking position one, two and three on the top goal scorers’ standings.

“It was a collective effort by the team. We knew what we wanted and there was unbelievable unity from the coach to the players. What made the win even more special, is we beat our main rival Zambia after they beat us 2-0 in the final in 2013,” Mushure said.

“It was going to be very disappointing had we lost the match, having done so well throughout the tournament. Of course, we were feeling a bit tired and we were afraid Zambia (who started the tournament at quarter-final stage) would take advantage. We knew they would come at us in the first minutes, but we knew that if we could hold on for the first 20 minutes, then we would be okay. When Mutizwa scored, we knew we would win the match.”

Mushure wants this team to be kept together and form the core of the African Nations Championship (Chan) squad that begins the qualifiers this weekend, when Zimbabwe take on Namibia in Windhoek.

With the tournament only for local-based players, Karuru, Eric Chipeta, Mutizwa and goalkeeper, George Chigova are the only ineligible players.

“It’s not my duty to talk about who should and shouldn’t be in the team, but this team showed very good character and is very strong to compete in the Chan qualifiers. It would be good to keep this team intact. We could just add a few players to replace those who are ineligible.”

The Chan squad will be announced this week.

Reports had suggested that Zifa wants Rahman Gumbo to coach the team, but after Chidzambwa’s brilliant run at Cosafa, it is believed the association will stick with the veteran coach.

The victorious squad is expected back home tonight.

 

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