Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
HARARE City have a mountain to climb when they travel to Lusaka for the Confederation Cup reverse fixture in two weeks’ time after letting the visitors score two crucial away goals at Rufaro on Saturday. The Sunshine Boys lost 1-2 to Zambian side Zanaco to make life very difficult for themselves when they entertain their opponents on March 20.
Taurai Mangwiro’s charges are also aware that in such a tournament it is important to make the most of their home ground.
But Harare City were always going to find it difficult against stronger opposition in Zanaco after breezing past lightweights AS Adema of Madagascar in the preliminary round whom they beat 6-3 on aggregate.
Zanaco’s pedigree at this stage was better than the Sunshine Boys, playing in their maiden African Safari.
The Lusaka giants have made five Champions League appearances and in 2010 they reached the group stages of the competition.
They also reached the first round of the same competition in 2003, 2006 and 2007. And the fact that Harare City midfielder Raphael Manuvire, who is also an early pacesetter on the goal scoring charts with three goals and his midfield partner Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo were subdued, did not help matters.
The visitors scored in the 17th minute and the 84th minute through Aubrey Funga and Rodrick Kabwe.
Harare City young forward Tanaka Ruzvidzo, who is proving to be a revelation for the side, got a consolation in the 89th minute.
And a super-charged Zanaco with four national players in the mould of Isaac Chansa, George Chilufya, Salulani Phiri and goalkeeper Racha Kola were just a class ahead of the Chibuku Super Cup winners.
However, Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba believes it is game on and City can turn on the tables in the return leg.
“I feel it wasn’t an easy game, we expect a very tough encounter in Zambia so we have to work hard for us to progress to the next round.
“We came here for a win and we knew the best way to defend was to attack. I am worried with the way we lost concentration in the last few minutes though.
“Like I said, I still think we haven’t secured our place in the second round, Harare City are no pushovers, they can cause us problems back in Lusaka,” he said.