Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
TRIANGLE coach Taurai Mangwiro believes his side is beginning to reap the fruits of hard work and commitment to duty.
The Africa safari debutantes stunned Tanzanian outfit Azam in a CAF Confederation Cup match to keep Zimbabwean teams firmly in the hunt.
Their victory came a day after FC Platinum beat UD Songo of Mozambique by a similar 1-0 margin in the first leg of the CAF Champions League first round match at Barbourfields.
Mangwiro’s men opened their campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Burundian side Rukinzo in a two-legged preliminary round last month.
They continued with their dream debut in Africa when they handed the Tanzanians their first defeat at their Chamazi Complex courtesy of a solitary strike from midfielder Ralph Kawondera.
“I think this is a result of hard work and commitment from the players and everyone involved with Triangle,’’ said Mangwiro.
“These guys have put in a lot and I believe it’s beginning to bear fruit now.
“But, we have always told ourselves that we are not there yet. There is still a lot to be done. It’s safe to say we won a battle in Tanzania but the war is far from over.
“Once we start thinking that we have done it, or we are almost done, that kind of thinking will always backfire with terrible consequences.
“So, we are going back into the trenches to prepare for the second leg.
“Azam are a very good team, technically astute and tactically sound. We knew of the task that was in our hands when we left for that match, that they had not lost a Confederation Cup match at home but records are there to be broken.
“They had a game plan on Sunday but I believe that ours worked better than theirs.”
By winning in Tanzania, Triangle achieved a feat which many teams, including the likes South Africa’s Bidvest Wits, FAR Rabat of Morocco and Tunisian giants Esperance have failed to accomplish at the Chamazi Complex in the last few years.
Their victory came barely 24 hours after FC Platinum had beaten UD Songo of Mozambique in the first leg of the first round of the Champions League.
Mangwiro’s men now need to finish off the job at home in the second leg set for September 28 to book their place in the final round of the qualifiers where they meet those teams that drop from the Champions League.
Azam are home to Zimbabwe internationals Bruce Kangwa, who started on Sunday, and striker Donald Ngoma.
Another Zimbabwean, Thabani Kamusoko, was also in action for his Zambian side Zesco over the weekend and scored the crucial equaliser against his former Tanzanian paymasters Young Africans.
Kamusoko returned in Tanzania to haunt his ex-teammates with an added time low shot and hand his new Zambian team a crucial 1-1 draw away.