WITH just a minute left, and the match looking to end in a stalemate, Lloyd Chitembwe hauled off first choice goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba, replacing him with Chris Mverechena.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Wisdom Mutasa celebrates after scoring the goal that decided the winner between Caps United and ZPC Kariba in a Chibuku Super Cup first round at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday
Had Mverechena struggled to hold down a starting place in the team, or had Chitembwe taken leave of his senses? Fans appeared to wonder. But there was Mverechena with his imposing frame intimidating Munyaradzi Kunyarimwe to direct his effort wide after ZPC Kariba goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya had converted his.
Although Moses Demera, David Temwanjira, and Ian Nekati converted their spot kicks, Caps United scored all their spot kicks through Joel Ngodzo, Milton Ncube, Method Mwanjale, Hardlife Zvirekwi and Wisdom Mutasa, who scored the winner to send the Green Machine through to the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup.
This was a shrewed decision that in the end paid dividends and Chitembwe revealed after the match that they had planned to thrust in Mverechena for the penalties once it got to that stage.
“Introducing Chris was by design. Chris is such a good penalty stopper. It’s very difficult to score from penalties against him. Even at training, he is like that. He makes the goal look smaller and if you ask his teammates, they will tell he is very difficult and today his presence helped us win the match,” Chitembwe said in a post-match interview.
The Caps United coach said although he was pleased with the result, he still felt there was need to improve in some aspects.
“I am very happy with the result, but it’s a process. There are certain aspects that I think we need to improve but what is important is that we won and we will give credit to the boys. They knew what was at stake and gave us this result.”
Caps United went into the match as underdogs in this tournament which guarantees the winners a ticket to play in the Caf Confederation Cup after having been booted in the first round last term.
They started off showing a lot of verve with Ngodzo coming close on 35 minutes with a low shot. The home team failed to create meaningful chances until the second half, with Ngodzo’s speculative shot on 55 minutes troubling Mawaya.
Striker Abasirim Chidiebere also came close with a headed opportunity on 61 minutes from Ncube. However ZPC Kariba could have gone ahead on 83 minutes, but Demera spurned the chance as Chigumba sprang to put out the effort. Chidiebere also came close at the death but was denied by the keeper.
ZPC Kariba coach Godfrey Tamirepi however drew some positives from the match.
“We were slow in the first half and allowed them to dominate the match. But we had one or two chances which we could have converted, but I am happy we managed to defend from set pieces the last time they scored from those set pieces,” Tamirepi said.
Caps United: P Chigumba, (C Mverechena 89’), S Makatuka, M Mwanjali, J Jangano, M Ncube, C Munzabwa, ( H Zvirekwi 46’), C Kamhapa, (B Muzondiwa 73’) J Ngodzo, V Musarurwa, W Mutasa, A Chidiebere,
ZPC Kariba: T Mawaya, B Mutukure, M Kunyarimwe, I Nekati, S Appiah, C Muleya, D Chikupe, (M Demera 57’), B Zuberi, T Nyamandwe, F Zekumbawire, ( D Temwanjira57’) T Chamboko ( P Tafirenyika76’),