From Paul Mundandi in ZVISHAVANE
FC Platinum ........................... (0)1
Highlanders ........................... (3)3
RAHMAN GUMBO appeared a dead man walking yesterday as his world collapsed around him after a shattering Castle Lager
Premiership home defeat that could effectively spell the end of his time at ambitious club, FC Platinum.
The Warriors’ interim coach saw the home fans turn against him at Mandava yesterday, with some calling for him to be sacked immediately, while some waved placards calling for his dismissal.
Although there was no official word, either from Gumbo or FC Platinum officials last night, the signs don’t look good and the events at Mandava showed that the bond of trust, which existed between the coach and the fans, has now been shattered.
It’s the cruelty of this game that it’s Gumbo who will dominate the headlines rather than Highlanders who deserve all the acres of space in newspapers for their heroic show as they continued their dream start to the campaign under Zambian coach, Kelvin Kaindu.
Ironically, Gumbo had started his term as FC Platinum coach with a game against Bosso, which the Zvishavane miners comfortably won 2-0 last year, but things have changed so much now that it’s Highlanders who could hammer the final nail in his coffin.
Bosso have now won three out of four league games, drawing the other, and are looking good in their revival under Kaindu.
This was FC Platinum’s second loss at Mandava after they were beaten by Dynamos 0-1 in the most decisive game of the Premiership campaign last year, which swung the pendulum in favour of the Glamour Boys.
Then, just like now, there were some own goals to work against the home side.
It was a woeful performance from FC Platinum as they were outplayed in all departments by a resurgent Highlanders who displayed some good touches that had their fans crying out for more.
The irony of it all is that FC Platinum bought some of the best players who were the backbone of Bosso — Zeph and Joel Ngodzo and Gilbert Banda — and that the team, which was supposed to have been left crippled by their departure should come to Mandava and overpower Kugona Kunenge Kudada, was a bitter pill to swallow for those who believe in the miners.
The situation was made even worse by the Shabanie Mine and Dynamos fans who joined their Bosso counterparts in a union of convenience as they cheered every touch by the Highlanders’ players.
Bekhimpilo Ncube, who is on loan to Bosso after having been deemed surplus to requirements at FC Platinum, watched the match from the VIP stand as his contract does not allow him to play in matches involving his principal team.
Bosso stunned the hosts when they took the lead in the 31st minute through the free-scoring Graham Ncube.
Milton Ncube roasted his marker and sent in a good pass into the box and Ncube reacted quickest with a right footer that hit the left upright before it nestled into the nets.
Goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube tried in vain to stop the shot but it was too late and it sparked wild celebrations from the stands.
Before the hosts could settle, Simon Munawa doubled Bosso’s lead.
Peter Moyo, who dictated the pace in the midfield, threaded a pass into the box that Munawa slotted home from the right after beating Gilbert Banda for pace.
Dube, exposed by his defence’s shortcomings, could not do anything and was beaten clean.
Under pressure, Gumbo switched to his emotions and pulled out Simon Shoko and Gilbert Banda after his defence had conceded two goals in as many minutes.
While Banda can get some blame for the second goal, questions will always be asked why Shoko was sacrificed and, crucially, rather than individuals misfiring, this was an entire team that wasn’t getting it right.
Banda was saluted by the Bosso fans as he made his way back to the bench.
There was no reprieve for Gumbo and his men and in the 46th minute, captain Zeph Ngodzo, who has been the team’s weakest link and has been struggling all season, beat his own keeper in a bid to clear.
Graham Ncube, who tormented his markers all day, created space after winning the ball on the right and sent a powerful cross into the box that Ngodzo tried to push away only to beat Dube.
FC Platinum pulled one back through Ali Sadiki ion the 71st minute but the writing was already on the wall.
Former Blue Ribbon defensive midfielder, Cabby Kamhapa, was the architect of the goal when he caught the Bosso defence napping and spotted Sadiki in the box who had the easiest task of beating Ariel Sibanda.
Interestingly, that was the first time Sibanda was tested.
Highlanders could have won the match by a wider margin had their strikeforce utilised all the chances they created on an afternoon they impressed many with their methodical build-ups.
Ncube who was full of running all afternoon and should have opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute but somehow failed to beat Dube from close range.
The slippery Milton Ncube then weaved his way past a cluster of defenders and squared the ball to Bruce Kwangwa who managed to lure Dube from his line in the 21st minute but somehow failed to beat him.
Masimba Mambara was the last to miss when he sent his effort over the bar when it looked easier to score, with Platinum goalkeeper Dube to beat after Bruce
Tshuma had made light work of the tiring home defence, moments after the hosts had pulled one back.
Daniel Veremu had a chance to make it two for the hosts in the 80th minute when he got a good chance in the box but fired his effort high and wide.
The damage by the royal black-and-white warriors from the City of Kings had already been done and, with unrest in the stands as the home supporters demanded
Gumbo’s head, there was no way back for his beaten troops.
Kaindu praised his charges after the match.
“It is a good win for us away from home. We are hoping to keep on scoring and I am still trying to rejuvenate the team since the morale had gone down in the Highlanders’ family,” said Kaindu.
“I am still trying to come up with a good formation and we are almost getting there. It is always good to score many goals and concede less. I am, however, going to take each game as it comes.”
As has become tradition when the team loses, Gumbo refused to speak to the media after the game.
“I have no comment”, he said.
But the fans, and some players, were speaking for him on the official FC Platinum Facebook page.
“Give them their signing-on fees before you get relegated?” posted Chicken Inn skipper, Herbert Dick, whose team leads the race.
Sam Mawire said Gumbo should read the signs.
“Rahman Gumbo wake up and smell the coffee, ma players are sabotaging you, havachakuda,” he wrote.
Eddie Mukahanana said there was a big problem at FC Platinum.
“The problem with your club is that you want instant success. In football you can use money to acquire players and compete today but consistency takes years of developing your own players,” he posted.
“Players with a club culture needs to be developed first. No short cuts. Success will eventually come but not this way. You have mercenaries in your club who possible don’t have the club at heart who are playing for $$$ (dollars).”
FC Platinum: T Dube, D Veremu, Q Amin, S Shoko(N Togara 39thmin), A Sadiki, C Kamhapa, C Sibanda, J Ngodzo, M Katsvairo, G Banda(Z Ngodzo 39th min)), A Gahadzikwa (W Ndiweni 52nd min)
Highlanders: A Sibanda, B Kwangwa, B Tshuma, I Mapuranga, E Mudzingwa, M Maphosa, H Masuku(B Chikaka 63rd ),S Munwa, P Moyo(R Howes 90th),M Ncube, G Ncube (M Mambare 63rd min).