Norman Mapeza has refused to blame goalkeeper Talbert Shumba for his mistake that cost the team in the 1-0 loss to Ghana on Tuesday.

Shumba misjudged Thomas Partey’s first half freekick and didn’t do enough to stop it as the ball sailed over him to hit the back of the net.

The goalkeeper also made another howler on the stroke of half time but Terrence Dzvukamanja’s timely off-the-line clearance prevented the Black Stars from extending their lead.

Speaking after the match, Mapeza said:“I was a footballer before.

“I used to make mistakes as well but my coach never dropped me out of the team.

“He needs to be encouraged, so, if I am going to drop him because of that mistake, I would be like Judas Iscariot.

“This is football, mistakes are bound to happen, it wasn’t his day, he made that mistake but I am proud of what he did, he never looked down.’’

The result dumped the Warriors out of the qualifiers with two games left in Group G stage. They’re at the bottom of the pool with one point, nine behind leaders South Africa.

Ghana is second with nine points while third-placed Ethiopia are also out of the qualifiers.

The winner in the group will advance to the final round of the qualifying campaign.