EDMORE Sibanda struck his third goal of the season to salvage a point for CAPS United but the big goalkeeper was rushed to hospital moments later after he had a concussion when he hit the bar in a Castle Lager Premiership match against Black Mambas at Rufaro yesterday.
Sibanda converted from the spot after the Green Machine had found themselves trailing the police side early in the game.
The match, which was short on goals but full of incidents, also marked the return of former Warriors striker Shingi Kawondera who showed he is still a notch ahead of the local players with some fine touches.
With the fans barely seated, Black Mambas forward Kasimero Chimbadzwa gave his team an early lead when his drive hit the bar and got a deflection off goalkeeper Sibanda before sailing into the nets.
Sibanda, was then injured in the 38th minute causing a 15-minute delay before he was rushed to the hospital, while forward Washington Pakamisa followed suit in the 79th minute when he collided with Tendai Chinungo and again suffered a concussion as the paramedics were kept busy the whole afternoon.
Referee Pedzisai Chadya also had a busy afternoon with five CAPS United players — Sibanda, Evans Gwekwerere, Washington Pakamisa, Tawanda Munyanduri and
Rahman Kutsanzira being cautioned while Sam Mutenheri, Kasimero Chimbadzwa, Convenience Hungwe and Tendai Chinungwa also got into the referee’s book.
After the goal, the police side had some neat build ups as they tried to frustrate the hosts. But in one of the Green Machine counter attacks striker Gwekwerere, who was handed a place in the first team after a week of uncertainty over his future at the club, was fouled in the box by Mambas captain Hungwe and referee Chadya awarded a penalty.
Sibanda who is now the club’s joint top goal scorer with midfielder Kutsanzira on three goals, took the spot kick and blasted the ball past former DC Academy and Young Warriors goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga.
After levelling terms, Makepekepe increased the tempo, but goals continued to elude them. The Green Machine earned a free kick 35th minute and up stepped the former Warriors goalkeeper but he was unlucky as his powerful shot hit the side net.
Three minutes later, Sibanda was unfortunate when Nicholas Alifandika flighted a ball into the box from the corner and as Warumwa Warumwa scrambled to head the ball home, Sibanda tried to block the ball out of danger at the far right and struck his head against the bar.
CAPS United team doctor Mordekai Sachikonye, with some assistance from Warriors doctor Nicholas Munyonga, attended to the player before an ambulance came onto the pitch to ferry the player.
The security at the stadium delayed the emergency situation as the ambulance’s siren kept on wailing while the marshals were looking for the keys to the exit point for the vehicle.
Sachikonye, however said last night that both players were in stable condition but still admitted at a private hospital.
The match later resumed with seven minutes left before the breather, with former Kiglon goalkeeper Itai Chiwara coming in while subdued midfielder Pride Tafirenyika was also pulled out and replaced with Kawondera who partnered Gwekwerere upfront while Pakamisa was pushed into the middle.
Makepekepe looked dangerous in the second period as they sought a winner with Kawondera who was combining well with Gwekwerere setting up his new teammates but more goals remained elusive.
In the 56th minute Kawondera sent a perfect cross to Kutsanzira who was quiet by his standards and he fluffed the chance and a minute later Gwekwerere failed to capitalise on an ill-conceived off-side trap and left a through pass from Tapiwa Kumbuyani go to waste.
The former Dynamos striker, who is yet to score a goal for CAPS United this season, wasted the best chance of the afternoon when he received a fine delivery from captain David Sengu in the 64th minute and came face to face with the keeper but scrambled his effort.
And three minutes later, Gwekwerere, thought he had atoned for his mistake when he headed into the nets after a neat pass from Kawondera but the goal was ruled offside.
CAPS United midfielder Tendai Samanja was also guilty of missing two clear chances as in the 70th minute he shot his effort wide after he was neatly set up by Kawondera and 10 minutes later, the former Monomotapa midfielder, sent another chance begging as CAPS United desperately sought a winner.
Black Mambas, absorbing all the pressure that was coming their way, could have got a sucker punch at the stroke of full time but Chimbadzwa disappointingly failed to score when he found himself with a loose ball in the box.
But the police side were happy to pick point against CAPS after beating Gunners last weekend and endoing their six-match winless run.
Assistant coach Martin Bonyongwe said they are now looking forward to gunning three more points against Quelaton at home on Saturday.
“A draw is a fairest result. We were playing one of the top teams. And the way we are playing is not different to the way we were playing before when we were failing to win and maybe we would attribute this to luck. We are now looking forward to our next game and hopefully we will win the game,” said Bonyongwe.
CAPS United coach Sean Connor who, watched his team drawing again after another 1-1 draw with Buffaloes two weeks ago still believes there is a ray of hope in his team which has struggled to score.
Connor said he was impressed with the way newboy Kawondera played in his first match.
“We are probably disappointed. We created enough chances and I think with a couple of games we will get better. But the good thing is it is now six games and we haven’t lost a match,” said Connor.
CAPS United: E Sibanda (I Chiwara 38th minute), D Sengu, N Mukumbi, T Kumbuyani, D Walaza, T Munyanduri, P Tafirenyika (S Kawondera 40th minute), R Kutsanzira, T Samanja, W Pakamisa (M Samaneka 79th minute), E Gwekwerere
Black Mambas: T Mateyaunga, S Mutenheri, C Hungwe, B Nyahunzvi, I Nyoni, K Kapikinyu, T Chinungo, H Chimutimunzeve (S Mutizirwa 81st minute), F Banda (P Kachirika 62nd minute), N Alifandika(T Rantokane 86th minute), K Chimbadzwa