Mugove Chigada in MAHAJANGA, Madagascar
AS Adema . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
Harare City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 3
(Harare City win 6-3 on aggregate)
HARARE City came from behind to leave AS Adema in the CAF Confederation Cup scrap heap yesterday, giving Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope in continental club football, a day after Chicken Inn’s painful exit from the Champions League. The Sunshine Boys brushed aside the Malagasy side to go through to the first round 6-3 on aggregate with Raphael Manuvire, Edwin Madhananga and Kuda Kumwala on target in the second half.
Ramahaison Bernadin had given AS Adema a first-half lead in the 38th minute. Yesterday it didn’t matter the temperatures were well above 35 degrees celsius at Rabamanenjara Stadium, with the hot and humid conditions taking its toll on the players in the first half.
It didn’t matter Harare City had conceded two goals in the first leg for a 3-2 win, AS Adema just could not stop the Sunshine Boys’ glitter. Harare City coach Taurai Mangwiro praised his boys for the fighting spirit that left an expectant crowd of about 6 000 fans in awe.
For the record, this became only the third time since Mangwiro took over at Harare City that his side came from behind to win a competitive game, the only other times being a 2-1 league match win at Rufaro over FC Platinum last season and in a 4-1 over ZPC Kariba in the Chibuku Super Cup.
“I have always said I want to look at the positives. Yes, the boys reacted well in the second half and put up an amazing fight. That is the character we need as a team if we are to make a difference in this tournament.
“My experience in these cup competitions is that you should have such character and a never-say-die attitude. Before the match I said we have never lost a game in which we led but today we found ourselves in a different scenario and still reacted well,” said Mangwiro.
The biggest talking point could be that of Kuda Kumwala who came from the bench in the 37th minute for injured Francisco Zekumbawira, his introduction coming with devastating effects. Kumwala could not have found a better goal in honour of a Mahajanga icon Alexandre Rabemanenjara whose name the stadium was named after in this west coastal city of Madagascar.
With his direct play, he found himself face-to-face with the goalkeeper 25 minutes into the second half before making a clever finish — ball over the keeper — that would have made any professional footballer grin with envy.
Before that Manuvire had given Harare City the equaliser 11 minutes in the second half from an Edwin Madhananga assist. Madhananga followed that with a header from a Manuvire cross six minutes later. In that same half Samanja had a penalty appeal turned down after his long range effort was blocked with a hand.
In the first half, both teams took time to settle down as they resorted to long balls in the first 10 minutes of the game. Samanja, Jam and Madhananga gave very little in the middle of the park as the Malagasy side tried to get an early lead.
A long range effort by AS Adema midfielder Fredom caused no problems for Dube in the 36th minute. A minute later Dube was again in the thick of things, cutting a dangerously looking cross that could have given the hosts the break they needed.
Bernadin then gave AS Adema the lead from set-piece which Dube failed to deal with. Goalie Dube said: “It was just a mistake and after that we managed to gather ourselves and came back into the game. I believe we were far much superior than them and deserved to win this game. We look forward to the next round.”
AS Adema goalie escaped a red after he went for Ronald Chitiyo’s legs with all defenders left for dead. Instead the referee gave a free-kick outside the box and just a yellow card. Earlier in the first half Kumwala was denied by the cross bar after connecting a cross from Madhananga while Manondo missed in similar fashion late in the game.
Harare City: T. Dube, M. Diro-Nyenye (Chimwemwe 75th minute), T. Ndlovu, R. Uchena, A. Chivheya, J. Jam, E. Madhananga, T. Samanja, R. Manuvire (Manondo), R. Chitiyo, F. Zekumbawira (K. Kumwala 37th minute)
AS Adema: K. Voay, R. Tantley (R. Herve 10th minute), R. Florent, R. Johny, H. Onjaniaina, R. Vonjy, R. Fredom, R. Bernardin, A. Steeve, A. Chretien, B. Jaotombo
Meanwhile, CAPS United midfielder Archieford Gutu was on target again this weekend for his club which is currently on tour in Mozambique as they beat Text Pungwe 1-0 on Saturday in Chimoio before they lost by the same margin yesterday against Text Africa.
Yesterday’s match completed the pre-season tour in the neighbouring country by the Green Machine who are expected to return home today. But newboy Gutu, who was snatched under the nose of perennial arch-rivals Dynamos, is already showing strong intent and separated the two teams when he scored in the 65th minute.
Gutu was also on target last weeknd when he scored another beautiful goal as CAPS United hammered Estrella de Beira 3-0. CAPS United, who have been in Mozambique for the last 10 days, have managed two wins, one draw and a defeat.