DYNAMOS interim coach Lloyd Chigowe described his goalkeeper Simba Chinani as a shining star after the 23-year-old produced two stunning saves in the penalty shoot-out to usher the struggling Harare soccer giants into Chibuku Super Cup semi-finals at the expense of newboys Herentals at Rufaro yesterday.
DeMbare were facing certain exit as Herentals prepared to take the decisive spot-kick after winger Emmanuel Mandiranga had crashed the first kick of the tie-break against the upright.
But Chinani brought the fading giants back into the game when he rose to block out Edgar Mhungu’s rising shot from the spot and reignited the wild scenes at Rufaro after some dejected Dynamos fans had already started trooping out of the stadium in frustration.
DeMbare captain Marshal Machazane made no mistake from the first kick of the sudden death.
And with Rufaro now on its feet, Chinani performed another superman show when he dived to his far right and pushed out a low shot from Archmore Majarira to give the Glamour Boys the win.
The celebrations afterwards said it all as the ’keeper paced across the ground with his teammates in tow while their coach Chigowe and his assistant Murape Murape joined the supporters in celebrating a rare win.
This victory in the knock-out tournament could mean much for the Glamour Boys for the remainder of the season as morale had sunk rock bottom in a desperate fight to avoid relegation.
DeMbare were first on target yesterday when Quality Kangadze found the back of the nets after 25 minutes. But they could not hold on to the lead as Herentals equalised from the penalty spot a few minutes later following a dirty piece of defending.
“Obviously, I am relieved because for Dynamos going out in the quarter-finals against newboys Herentals makes big news. So I am naturally elated we survived this one and we live to fight another day,” said the Mbare-born Chigowe.
DeMbare will now join fellow giants CAPS United, Triangle and two-time winners Harare City in the semi-final draw.
Chigowe is hoping the Glamour Boys will get relief from the Chibuku Super Cup following a difficult run in the Castle Lager Premiership.
The DeMbare coach was forced to make some experiments yesterday in the desperate search for a win, with defender Godfrey Mukambi playing a pivotal role in the game-plan after their star player Denver Mukamba had gone AWOL again.
But Herentals refused to be pushed around with DeMbare goalkeeper Chinani, who had been impressive since he took over the reins from Tonderai Mateyaunga, being called in to make some good saves.
Still DeMbare managed to find the opening goal when Kangadze received a good pass from Kudzanayi Dhemere and slotted the ball to the far right of goalkeeper Frank Kuchineyi.
The lead was, however, quickly cut short when James Marufu made a suicidal blunder at the back and his teammate Jimmy Tigere made a clumsy challenge on Archmore Majarira, resulting in referee Lazarus Dirwai awarding a penalty to Herentals.
Herentals’ main striker Blessing Majarira converted from the spot and it was 1-1 with 31 minutes on the board.
DeMbare still continued to push for a winner in the second half and the introduction of Valentine Kadonzvo and Gift Saunyama added the flair that had been lacking in their game.
“The penalty shoot-out is a topsy-turvy affair. Even the best players can let you down on the day because of nerves, not necessarily that they are not good enough and I thought the biggest disappointment was the way we conceded the equaliser because there was really nothing in it.
“In the shoot-out, the man we rely on most and trust most (Mandiranga) hits the cross bar and the goalkeeper we trust to save penalties concedes three consecutive kicks.
“Obviously you are left in no-man’s land. But I’m glad the boys held their nerves and did the job. I thought in the end he came out like a shining star because at the decisive moment he saved us and then he took us to the semi-finals alongside the captain Machazane,” said Chigowe.
Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva was impressed by his charges performance despite defeat. He said his charges failed to handle the pressure in the penalty shoot-out.
“We did not get the goals that are important in football. This is a cup game and if you don’t score it’s very difficult to win matches. But I would give my boys the thumbs up because this is their first cup game playing against a big team like Dynamos, regardless of their form in the league.
“They are still a big team and we managed very well until we lost it to the penalty shoot-out. It’s just like a lottery.
“The decisive penalty needs lots of confidence and lots of composure, but my youngster Edgar Mhungu did not have it since it was supposed to be the winning penalty.
“That’s where we lost the match. Archmore could not convert the next penalty because they were dejected. They had lost confidence after Edgar had missed the most important penalty,” said Mutiwekuziva.