HARARE, March 25 (Xinhua) -- The victory by the Zimbabwe senior national football team over the Republic of Congo on Sunday has given mourning Zimbabweans something to smile about after more than a week of hearing bad news about victims of Cyclone Idai.
The Warriors, as the team is affectionately called, beat the Red Devils 2-0 to qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was among the first top government officials to congratulate the team. "Congratulations to the Warriors! Our boys demonstrated strength and resilience, pride and prowess," he said.
"You are an inspiration to us all! Your hard work and famous victory will serve as an example to an entire nation!" Mnangagwa said on his Twitter account.
Sports minister Kirsty Coventry said the victory was a product of unity.
"This is what happens when a team comes together. This win is made even more special as it was in honor of the families affected by Cyclone Idai. I am so proud of our men, we are so proud of our men," she also tweeted.
However, she expressed regret over the death of a middle aged woman at the National Sports Stadium just before kickoff following a stampede as football fans rushed into the stadium after they became impatient following a ticket scanner failure.
"This kind of thing should never have happened. All events have to have proper safety procedures put in place. We expect everybody to behave properly but know this doesn't always happen. The organizers of these events have to be better prepared," she said.
Football fan Tendai Muyemeki said apart from the unfortunate death at the stadium, the victory had lifted the spirits of many people who had spent gloomy days following the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai.
"It was a sweet victory. Our boys gave us something to smile about, although I feel that they should improve their game if we are to proceed to the knockout stages at AFCON," he said.