Zimbabwe Warriors coach Norman ‘Nomara’ Mapeza says the 2-1 loss to the Flames on Friday, which ended their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) group stages qualification hopes, is haunting him.
The team anchors Group B with no point from two games and Mapeza waved the white flag, saying they are out of contention for a slot in the last 16.
He was quoted by Zimbabwean newspaper The Sunday Mail as having said: “I am disappointed ofcourse, very disappointed that we have exited the tournament.
“It was a very painful loss to Malawi.
“We expected to win against Malawi, especially given how we played against Senegal.
“But, look, we have [our final group match] against Guinea and we’ll fight for our pride.”
Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association founding leader Eddie ‘Mboma’ Nyatanga also said he was disappointed with the Warriors’ showing in Cameroon.
He said: “Losing to Malawi at this stage is an all-time low. It means we are going down.
“The government had put in resourses, but we ended up losing to Malawi.
“I have been talking to a number of supporters and they are very disappointed.”
Even if Malawi lose to Senegal and Zimbabwe beat Guinea in the last group matches, Zimbabwe will not sail through due to head-to-head system which is used at Afcon.
The Warriors were each promised $1 000 (about K825 000) bonuses for every win at the tournament by a Zimbabwean financial institution FBC Holdings.
The offer also extends to all members of the technical panel.
FBC Holdings also pledged a house for every player had they won the tournament.
Flames legend Joseph Kamwendo, who was a key member of the squad which qualified for the 2010 Afcon finals, said in an interview on Sunday that Zimbabwe thought it would be easy against the Flames.
The former Malawi captain, who is the only foreigner to have won the Player of the Year Award in 2005 while starring for Caps United, said: “After putting up a gallant fight against Senegal, they thought it would be an easy win against Malawi.
“They were wrong and that is why they are failing to come to terms with reality.”