A Prince who keeps on giving

A Prince who keeps on giving

THERE is a new Prince in town.

One who keeps on delivering for his Kingdom — whether for the Young Warriors or for the Warriors.

Just when Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, was beginning to run out of options, he didn’t know who to throw into battle between Prince Dube and Terrence Dzvukamanja.

His instincts told him to go for the Prince.

“I kept arguing to myself. I was thinking of bringing in Prince (Dube) or Terrence (Dzvukamanja) and I just made a decision to bring Dube.”

And the decision paid dividends.

After shuffling his cards to salvage something from this 2021 AFCON qualifier against Algeria at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, Loga was growing desperate, if not jittery, on the line.

Four days after suffering a 1-3 defeat in Algiers, the Warriors looked like surrendering to the Desert Foxes who took their unbeaten run to 22 matches yesterday.

With nine minutes left on the clock, Dube came in for the impressive Tendayi Darikwa as Loga threw caution to the wind.

Then, in an instant, with his first touch of the ball, he scored.

He is used to that although Loga insists, for the national team, he is still a bit green but certainly one for the future.

He has top scored for Zimbabwe before, though, with his five goals helping the Warriors qualify for the postponed 2020 CHAN finals in Cameroon.

He won’t be in Cameroon, with the others when the tournament, exclusively reserved for players plying their trade in their domestic leagues, takes place in January 2021.

He is ineligible as he moved to join Azam in Tanzania.

He has scored seven goals in Azam colours and provided five assists in just 10 games.

And, yesterday the former Highlanders forward just took a page from his club’s form book, to the national team.

If there is one attribute that makes Dube, who was one of the top three players on the domestic scene last year, it should be his excellent reading of the game.

No sooner was he on the pitch that captain Knowledge Musona, who of late has perfected his set-piece taking ability, flighted an inviting corner kick.

A number of similar corners had been taken by the captain, during the game, but no one seemed to notice that there were opportunities on the blind side.

Dube was reading all that while seated on the bench.

He quickly positioned himself into that area, unmarked.

When the Algerians failed to deal with the tricky ball swung in from the corner, the lurking Prince pounced.

It wasn’t one of the best goals seen at the National Sports Stadium but certainly one of the most important strikes recorded there.

The goal secured a point for Zimbabwe to take their tally to five, after four round of fixtures.

The point ensured the Warriors’ destiny, in these qualifiers, remain in their hands.

In the aftermath of his heroics, this special boy, who is one of the most humble figures in this Warriors squad, chose to give credit to his teammates.

“Of course, I am very happy to have scored such an important goal in this magnificent fixture but I owe it to the technical team and my teammates,” he said.

“Without them, there is nothing to talk about. I am happy for taking this rich vein of form from my club (Azam) to the Warriors.

“I am thankful to the coaches, for giving me some time to play and, my teammates, for the support.

“I am excited, really excited for scoring such an important goal in those circumstances.

“I will be happy if the team manages to qualify for the AFCON finals. At the moment, it’s work in progress.”

His goal meant the Warriors remain second on the table, with Algeria qualifying for the finals on 10 points.

Botswana, who beat Zambia 1-0 in Gaborone last night, are in third place while Chipolopolo anchor the table.

 2021 AFCON Group H table

P        W     D     L      F      A      Pts

Algeria                         4        3      1      0      11   3      10

Zimbabwe                  4        1      2      1      5      6      5

Botswana                   4        1      1      2      2      3      4

Zambia                        4        1      0      3      3      9      3

l Algeria have qualified for the 2021 AFCON finals