ZIMBABWE’S Copa Coca-Cola boys football team got off to a positive start at the Africa Cup tournament in Thika, Kenya, when they won their matches against the hosts and Mozambique yesterday to advance to the quarter-finals.
A hat-trick by Luke Musikiri powered Zimbabwe a comfortable 3-1 win over defending champions Kenya in their opening encounter in Pool A.
They went on to beat Mozambique 4-2 to finish tops with six points.
Musikiri was outstanding yesterday as he also scored one of the goals against Mozambique to take his tally to four in two games.
The other goals came from Alfa Chiwashira, who scored a brace, and Dylan Gumbe weighed in with a goal.
Yesterday’s double victory was a good start for Zimbabwe, who were eliminated in the group stages last year at the inaugural tournament.
Zimbabwe coach, Pathias Mauto, was a happy man and said it was not an easy task facing the hosts in the first match yesterday.
“The boys played very well, especially playing under the conditions that the pitch was full of water,’’ he said.
“We never trained for that but the boys managed to get three points under such conditions.
“Kenya were tough opponents because their boys are big and a bit quicker than us.
“The Mozambique game, they were just playing long balls so we just changed the game plan and we started playing short passes and we outclassed them because they had no structure at all.
“I am just happy for our boys for collecting six points,’’ said Mauto.
Zimbabwe have a date against Namibia today in the quarter-finals.
“We are definitely going to carry the momentum into the quarter-finals tomorrow (today) because the boys are more confident now.
“The boys now believe in themselves more than they were doing before,” said Mauto.
The tournament, featuring 12 countries, is running until Thursday.