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Zimbabwe national football team
World Cup Qualifying - Africa | Group Stage
Jun 7, 2024 at 2pm UK
Orlando Stadium
Lesotho national football team

0 - 2

Hadebe (7'), Mbeba (50'), Rinomhota (62'), Munetsi (64')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Rasethuntsa (21'), Thaba-Ntso (31')
Mats'oele (44'), Malane (70'), Sefali (75'), Thaba-Ntso (80')

Preview: Zimbabwe vs. Lesotho - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - Africa clash between Zimbabwe and Lesotho, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Gameweek three in a wide-open Group C at the CAF World Cup qualifiers will see Zimbabwe taking on Lesotho at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon.

In what has been dubbed the group of death, both these sides have managed to take two points from their first two games, with Lesotho currently in fourth place while Zimbabwe are fifth.

Match preview

Zimbabwe's Kudakwashe Mahachi celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on January 18, 2022© Reuters

Owing to their stadiums failing to meet FIFA as well as CAF requirements, Zimbabwe will play their 'home' games in South Africa, and in this instance, they will remain in the country after this match as they will face Bafana Bafana next Tuesday.

The Brave Warriors have been through a difficult few years, as they were banned by FIFA in February 2022 due to governmental interference in the nation's football associations, and they were not permitted to participate in the 2023 Men's and Women's AFCON tournaments.

Additionally, the side is currently without a permanent head coach after their FA chose not to extend Baltermar Brito's temporary contract last year. Brito oversaw the side's first two qualifiers against Rwanda and Nigeria, which ended in draws.

ZIFA are believed to be in talks with an undisclosed candidate for the head coach position, but with crucial World Cup qualifiers already here, the organization announced that Jairos Tapera, former Under-20s national coach and coach of Manica Diamonds, will take charge of the team for the June qualifiers.

Since returning to the international stage in September 2023, the Brave Warriors have played five games but failed to win any in regulation time, drawing three and losing two, including a loss in their most recent match against Kenya (3-1) at the end of March.

Meanwhile, Lesotho have struggled to make an impact on the international stage in recent years and have now slipped to 149th, according to FIFA World Rankings, and 45th of 53 CAF nations, excluding unranked Eritrea.

The Crocodiles did not make it to the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year owing to a dismal qualifying campaign, which saw them earn just one point from six games, finishing bottom of their group behind Zambia, Ivory Coast and Comoros.

However, they have shown some signs of improvement in this tournament, having picked up two points in their first two games, playing out back-to-back draws against group favourites South Africa and Nigeria back in November.

Since then, Leslie Notsi's side have kept themselves active, playing five friendlies in 2024, which saw them deliver two losses, two draws and a win over Ethiopia in March - their only victory in any competition since July 2023.

The last time these sides met was in a CAF African Nations Championship match in 2019, which ended goalless and was the fifth drawn result between these sides in 24 previous meetings. Lesotho have won only twice and lost 17 of the other 19 encounters.

Zimbabwe World Cup Qualifying - Africa form:

Zimbabwe form (all competitions):

Lesotho World Cup Qualifying - Africa form:

Lesotho form (all competitions):

Team News

Zimbabwe's Kudakwashe Mahachi receives medical attention after sustaining an injury on January 18, 2022© Reuters

With their next two games set to be played in South Africa, Tapera has included two PSL-based players in his squad selection, including Mamelodi Sundowns left-back Divine Lunga and Polokwane City striker Douglas Mapfumo.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' winger Tawanda Chirewa earned his first call-up, having recently debuted in the Premier League during a 2-0 home defeat against Arsenal in April.

However, Marvelous Nakamba, who suffered relegation from the Premier League with Luton Town, has been left out of the squad due to a knee injury that has sidelined him since December.

For Lesotho, Lemohang Lintsa, who had a dream first season winning the Golden Boot in the Lesotho Premier League, will return to the national team setup for the two matches this month.

Midfielder Tsepang Sefali suffered an injury in the Crocodiles' last match against Ethiopia in March but has made a full recovery and will be in contention to make the starting 11 on Friday.

Zimbabwe possible starting lineup:
Donovan; Hadebe, Takwara, Garanga, Zemura; Rinomhota, Munetsi, Musona; Bonne, Kadewere, Chirewa

Lesotho possible starting lineup:
Moerane; Mkwanazi, Rasethuntsa, Mohai, Matsoele; Lebokollane, Sefali, Thaba, Lesaoana, Bereng; Motebang

SM words green background

We say: Zimbabwe 2-1 Lesotho

Despite the difficulties faced in recent years, Zimbabwe still possess a star-studded squad that features players players that apply their trade in some of the best clubs in Africa and Europe. The Brave Warriors have yet to win a match in this competition but looked impressive when taking points of powerhouses Rwanda and Nigeria in the last two games.

This should be an intriguing contest, but we feel Zimbabwe will manage to notch up their first victory of these qualifiers in this one.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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