Tactical – How Zimbabwe outplayed Zambia
2017 Cosafa Cup Final – Zambia 1 – 3 Zimbabwe
Playing six games in a space of two weeks did not look too big an ask for Zimbabwe chiefly because they got their tactics spot on in line with the demands of the occasion – the physical conditioning on the day and their technical abilities.
Zimbabwe early enough identified Zambia’s left full back Lawrence Chungu as the weak link in the team and placed on his flank the talented Talent Chawapiwa permanently who tormented the defender at will. The main asset for Chawapiwa is his trickery and pace which the Power Dynamos defender could not cope with.
Zambia playing on the base of 2 central defensive midfielders could have countered that by cutting supply to Chawapiwa using one between skipper Donashano Malama or Kack Chirwa. Clearly this did not happen despite the early warning signs.
Further, the Chipolopolo dominated the middle because of their setup and the Warriors simply avoided the central areas in preference to wide areas. Zambia should have used the central areas more to their advantage but instead chose to use the flanks even if they did not posses much pace on the wide areas. After Mike Katiba’s forced substitution, a change in personnel should have meant a change in approach but Wada Wada stuck to the same approach despite change in tools. Mundia’s goal was great but his placement on the flank was off. He has no pace and rarely takes on men so placing him on the wing was a negative move.
With Zimbabwe mounting pressure, the easiest route for the 2013 champions to counter that was not by sitting back but by going at then there-by pegging back their flamboyant attackers and nullifying their possible forward forays.
Brian Mwila and Justin Shonga are bright prospects for the future but both could not play with their backs to goal and only flourish with balls into the channels. The long ball from the back did not work well especially that they stood shorter than their opposing defenders and also because there was no one to get onto the knock down on the little occasions that they won it aerially.
The Chipolopolo always look stronger when playing it on the ground and should have done it more but when down, the lads panicked and forgot to do the good things they were already doing.
The wingers albeit not as effective as desired. Mwila Phiri has a lovely left foot but lacks in pace and as such if he is to be used wide he should leave space for Chungu to come forward as he has more pace than the winger. This meant Phiri should have been cutting in and to show one of his greatest assets, a POWERFUL shot.. The lack of pace meant the wingers were ineffective and defeated the whole purpose of playing a 4-4-2 and should have possibly gone for a 4-3-3 which demands less of pace but more of movement off the ball and intelligence which was available in abundance.
Much is said about the ‘Triple S’-Speed, Skill and Strength and the basis of our play as Zambia but on Sunday, we got a taste of our own medicine and Zimbabwe employed it to the later.
All things considered they were superior on the day but like any coach Wada Wada should have picked some pointers from the COSAFA outing that should aid him going forward.
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