The Zimbabwe Warriors suffered a 4-3 penalty shootout defeat against the Botswana Zebras in an Invitational Independence Cup friendly match played in Botswana.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw during regular time, with Zimbabwe taking the lead through Obriel Chirinda’s goal in the 66th minute, and Botswana equalizing just a minute later through Lemogang Maswena.
During the penalty shootout, the Warriors missed two penalties, while Botswana missed one, giving them the victory.
The match was the first overseen by the newly appointed Warriors coach, Baltemar Brito. Despite the loss, Brito expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance, praising their technical skills and quick adaptation to tactics. He remained optimistic about the future saying he would not read much into the loss.
This match was significant for Zimbabwe as it marked their second match after returning to international football after FIFA suspended the country in February 2022 due to government interference in the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA). The ban was lifted in July 2023. The first match upon their return was against Namibia on September 4th, coinciding with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. The Warriors emerged victorious in a penalty shootout.
These matches serve as preparation for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers scheduled for November. Only locally-based players were called up for national duty in both games. The Warriors team typically consists of players based abroad, except for the COSAFA matches and CHAN matches. Pindula News