Zimbabwe coach blames players' anxiety for loss to Egypt at AFCON opener

Ahram Online , Saturday 22 Jun 2019,
Zimbabwe's coach Sunday Chidzambwa gives his instructions during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Egypt and Zimbabwe at Cairo International Stadium on June 21, 2019 AFP

Fear and worry were the main reasons behind Zimbabwe's 1-0 loss to hosts Egypt in the African Cup of Nations opener on Friday, according to head Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who stressed that his team need to work hard to proceed in the prestigious tournament.

"We didn't play well, especially in the first half, because of the players’ fear and worry from the kick-off match, especially amid playing against the hosting country," Chidzambwa said after the match.

Egyptian winger Mahmoud Trezeguet netted in the first half to give the Pharaohs a narrow 1-0 win at the 75,000-seat Cairo stadium, to go to the top of Group A.

"We restored the balance gradually and we became the best side in the second half, but we didn't make the best use of the scoring chances that we got," the Zimbabwe boss added.

Zimbabwe will face Uganda in their next match on Wednesday, before facing DR Congo in the final match of the first round on 30 June.

"We must work hard in the coming matches to score goals," the coach added.

The Zimbabwe players had refused to train on Thursday until they receive their unpaid wages and bonuses.

"The financial crisis didn't affect our performance against Egypt negatively. The problem is over now as we reached a solution with the football association and we are fully concentrated now on the tournament," concluded Chidzambwa.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)


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