Zimbabwe 2-0 Angola
Harare, 27/03/05

And just like that Angola are unseated as UFWC top dogs after 9 months and 8 matches. Zimbabwe are the new champions, having won this explosive World Cup Qualifier in front of 45,000 fans with two second-half goals. Substitute Shingirai Kawondera struck the first from the edge of the box, before Benjani Mwaruwari headed in a cross from Joel Luphahla. Zimbabwe skipper Peter Ndlovu had a late header disallowed for offside. This was Zimbabwe’s first win since October 2003, and it moves then to third in World Cup Qualifying Group Four.

Zimbabwe are the 43rd UFWC champions in 133 years of international football. Dreadlocked coach Charles Mhlauri can call upon the experience of captain Ndlovu, now at Mamelodi Sundown, and striker Mwaruwari, who plays for Auxerre. The home of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s recent sporting history has been somewhat overshadowed by political and social strife under the government of President Robert Mugabe.

With the friendly match against Lesotho mysteriously disappearing from the FIFA fixture list, Zimbabwe’s first UFWC title defence will be a Cosafa Castle Cup against Mozambique. The recent UFWC challengers are currently 127 in the FIFA rankings, 64 places behind Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe will be looking to retain the title and avoid being one-point wonders in the UFWC rankings. Game on.