Cape Town – Zimbabwe’s participation in the African Nations Championship is hanging in the balance after they drew 0-0 with Uganda in a group B game at the Athlone Stadium on Thursday.
This followed a 0-0 opening draw with Morocco in their opening match.
The southern African side were the superior side on the day, but had to settle for one point instead of three as they failed to click in front of goal.
Uganda made a promising start, earning a first-minute corner after the Zimbabwe defence were forced into making a clumsy clearance from an early cross into the box. After that it was Zimbabwe who grew stronger as the half went on.
Their first opportunities saw Tawanda Muparati shooting straight at Uganda goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan before Simbarashe Sithole had his close range volley saved after getting on the end of a 21st minute free kick.
Zimbabwe continued to enjoy the upper hand, but struggled to find the finishing touch they needed up front.
Another opportunity went a-begging when Sithole was denied by Ochan as he tried to sneak in a first-half stoppage-time shot from a tight angle.
With their supporter base growing in the stands, Ian Gorowa’s Zimbabwe side came out fired up for the second half, soon putting the Ugandan defence under pressure.
There was, however, a rare chance for the Cranes as Yunus Sentamu went just wide of goal with a 51st-minute header.
The Warriors had to wait until past the hour mark before they created any clear-cut chances on goal, with Kudakwashe Malachi a constant threat down the left wing, from where he delivered a series of telling crosses, one of which glanced the cross-bar.
Malachi would have been a frustrated man when he sent a perfect ball into the box, only to see Sithole making a real hash of his attempted header, as did substitute Peter Moyo when he got his 74th minute header all wrong.
The closing minutes were action-packed and end-to-end, with both sides looking threatening when going forward.
Uganda had a penalty appeal turned down after Sentamu went down in the box, while Zimbabwe had a couple of half-hearted late chances, none of which really threatened to break the deadlock. – Sapa