Zimbabwe, Kenya Under 20 Preview

Kenya and Zimbabwe this afternoon clash in the second match of the Four Nations Under-20 tournament, with both sides promising to dish out their best.

Straight from their 3-2 loss to hosts Malawi, Zimbabwe will be hoping to step up their game and register a win in their last match.

Despite losing to Malawi, Zimbabwe showed they have potential as they twice hit the target through their marksman Denzel Mapuwa to reduce the deficit to just one goal.

The young Warriors coach Simon Marange said they have worked on their shortfalls and this time they will be more aggressive.

“There isn’t much difference from what we did against Malawi. We just have to be more aggressive and a bit more intentional when we have the ball.

“One of the things we will work on is our defensive transition, because we conceded two goals from having the ball, then they won it back and created a chance and scored.

“We will be working on that to make sure when we have the ball, we have the right distances so that we don’t succumb to attacking transition.”

In the match against Malawi, despite the loss, Zimbabwe showed they meant business as they dominated possession.
Marange said they will continue to dominate through their possession football.

“We are a possession based team and we like to express ourselves. We will continue to do that. We will be dominant, however, we have to be very good when we lose the ball and we have to make sure we are compact so as not to give space,” he explained.

However, Marange said he is aware that they face a formidable opponent.

“It is obviously difficult to play a very fresh Kenya that has not played yet. We don’t know much about them. But we will continue focussing on ourselves as we are building a team,” he concluded.

His counterpart Anthony Akhulia said he would like to see the team’s progress after emerging runners up at the CECACA Under-20 in December 2023.

He said: “The tournament is very important to us. The team that is here is the sane that participated at CECAFA Cup and Uganda beat us in the final. I want to see the progression of the team. I want to make sure the team grows.”

On their opponents, Akhulia said the result against Malawi shows that Zimbabwe are a good team.

“Zimbabwe is a strong side. They lost to the hosts 3-2. It just shows the game was competitive. But with all due respect to Zimbabwe, we will work hard and try to win the match comfortably.

“I think we are well prepared. We are playing two matches and we are hoping we will win both matches and emerge victorious,” he said.

After Zimbabwe, the young Harambee Stars will face Malawi on Sunday.


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