Perfect, all perfect for the Warriors
Not only is he a goal poacher, he is a perfect attacking midfielder whose prowess and consistency has been superb over the last few seasons and he has taken the same form to the national team.
While some may have doubted his inclusion in the starting XI, for the Warriors, Perfect Chikwende was just a marvel to watch, even without the team’s priceless gem Marvelous Nakamba behind him.
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder and former FC Platinum golden boy was the hero of the night and will surely have his name written in history books for not only sinking the Zebras of Botswana, but for his perfect goal which secured an Afcon finals spot for Zimbabwe with a game to spare.
The goal which came in the 15th minute resulted from a rebound after a superbly curled Knowledge Musona free kick was spilt by the Botswana goalie.
Chikwende headed in the rebound and the goal was enough to seal Botswana’s fate in their own backyard.
Chikwende, whose career could have collapsed when he was embroiled in a transfer saga when Bulawayo Chiefs and his former paymaster Pure Platinum Play fought over his sale to Tanzanian giants Simba SC, will surely be remembered for his solitary goal.
The diminutive versatile midfield maestro who sank his current paymaster with a single strike at the giant National Sports Stadium did a perfect job and shuttered the Zebras Afcon dream.
Chikwende has relieved pressure and probably bought time for the Croat gaffer, Zdravko Logarusic who was sitting on a ticking time bomb for producing a spate for poor results.
The win at Francistown Stadium was a historic moment for the nation, Logarusic, captain fantastic Knowledge Musona, goalie Talbert Shumba and Chikwende who was just perfect on the night.
Zimbabwe have qualified for Afcon for the third successive time and this time but it is the second time the team has booked a place with a game to spare.
Logarusic made history by becoming the first foreign gaffer to take charge of a Warriors side which has qualified for the Nations Cup slated for next year in Cameroon.
The Smiling Assasin, Musona led with finesse and flair, causing all sorts of problems as he made sure the side pick maximum points making him the first Captain to lead the Warriors to a third successive Afcon finals.
Logarusic trusted Nkana FC goal minder, Shumba ahead of Martin Mapisa and veteran Highlanders captain Ariel Sibanda to guard the posts and he did a solid job by keeping a clean sheet on the night.
Veteran midfielder Ovidy Karuru aka Masvingo Mosquito provided the much needed experience in the middle of the park.
The hero of the day Chikwende and for his name’s sake, he was a perfect player to fill in the gap in the Warriors fold on his debut.
It was a critical match which needed caution, dedication and the players did so as they played for the badge and the pride of the nation.
Zimbabwe qualified as the runners up after the desert foxes of Algeria who lead the pack in Group H.
Although they have qualified, the Warriors will have to finish their group fixture on a high note when they date Chipolopolo at National Sports on Monday 29, 2021.
The big question however still remains if Loga will break the jinx at the Total Africa Cup of Nations to become the first coach to lead a Zimbabwean side which progresses to the knockout stage?