By Ellina Mhlanga
Yadah Stars owner Prophet Magaya says he prayed for peace to prevail ahead of this explosive encounter and his prayers were answered as the game passed without incident with the two Harare rivals settling for a goalless draw at Rufaro.
Magaya, whose men crushed Black Rhinos 3-1 in their last league match, told The Herald he was concerned this showdown against Herentals could be spoiled by violence and prayed for peace.
“My prayer was that the game should be enjoyable and shouldn’t get spoiled by violence because I had a feeling there were some people who would be out to ridicule me and some of my guys could react,” he said.
“I had been telling my people that they shouldn’t retaliate because we are here to try and give a good impression of the beauty of sport.”
And, this game duly passed without any off-the-field drama.
Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva conceded they still need to work on their conversion rate after another poor showing in front of goal in this Castle Lager Premership match.
The Premiership new boys had a promising start in the game as they created several chances but their failure to convert those chances saw them settling for a point.
Herentals had their first win on Thursday when they beat ZPC Kariba 1-0 at Nyamhunga.
They have so far scored just one goal in four matches and conceded four.
“After four games, conversion rate is still low, it’s still poor, out of four games we have only scored just one, that’s the area that we are going to look at,” said the coach.
“This is the area that we are working on but in terms of creativity, creating chances, they are doing very well. What’s important now is to work on conversion.”
The home side got their first chance in the opening minute of the game when Blessing Majarira’s shot from his sibling Archmore’s cross went wide from close range.
Majarira came back to haunt Yadah again in the 22nd minute but his effort from the left flank hit the side of the net.
Herentals continued firing blanks in the second half where they created some decent chances.
Yadah’s coach Thomas Ruzive was forced to substitute Aaron Makopa in the 46th minute after he suffered a head injury when he collided with his goalkeeper Samuel Mafukidze as they both went for the ball.
They had to finish the remainder of the first half with 10 players hoping he would come back but the coach was forced to make the change at the resumption of the second half with Denzel Savanhu coming in.
Yadah’s chances came from Leeroy Mavhunga, in the 28th minute, when he got to the end of a loose ball inside the box but his effort went inches wide.
In the 72nd minute Ralph Matema could have won it for them when he shot from a close range only for that effort to be blocked by Herentals goalkeeper Kudakwashe Magama.
Yadah coach Ruzive was satisfied with the point picked.
“I think it was a game of two halves, they dominated in the first half and we dominated in the second and we created our chances and we failed to convert them and they created their chances and they failed to convert them.
“It was the fairest result.
“Of course, sometimes football is very cruel, it’s a game of three results, a draw, lose and a win. I am very content with the one point . . . they were at home so it was a point gained,” said Ruzive.
Herentals: K. Magama, B. Maudzane, C. Mavhurume, B. Majarira, W. Chimbetu, W. Kapumha, A. Majarira, A. Chiwandamidzi (E. Mhungu 74th min), I. Benza (R. Chishaya 81st min), B. Majarira, T. Chitukutuku (J. Mutudza 46th min).
Yadah FC: S. Mafukudze, W. Kalongonda, W. Chakanyuka, A. Makopa (D. Savanhu 46th min), R. Dongo, B. Mapfumo, J. Dzingai, L. Murape (M. Musiyakuvi 59th min), L. Mavhunga (M. Meleka 46th min), R. Matema, S. Sithole.
Herentals … … … … … … … … … … . 0
Yadah Stars … … … … … … … … … . 0