(Zanaco win 5-2 on aggregate)
HARARE City captain Themba Ndlovu says it was tough to contain Zambian side Zanaco in their own backyard after the Sunshine Boys gave away their lead yesterday to bow out of the CAF Confederation Cup in the first round when they lost the second leg tie at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
It was always going to be difficult for the Sunshine Boys to turn around the tie especially after losing the first leg 2-1 at Rufaro last week.
This meant Harare City needed goals to save their maiden campaign in Africa and Honey Chimutimunzeve gave them the bright start they needed when he grabbed a 10th minute lead.
It was 2-2 on aggregate with more than 80 minutes to play and it looked like Harare City could repeat their preliminary round act when they won comfortably away from home at Madagascar’s AS Adema.
Chimutimunzeve’s goal was crucial but the job was still not done as the two away goals they conceded at Rufaro came back to haunt them.
City knew they needed to score at least another goal and avoid being breached. But Zanaco defender Ziyo Tembo dashed their hopes when he headed home twice from similar positions either side of the half while Dave Daka put the final nail on the visitors’ coffin in the 89th minute.
Once again, Harare City’s defence was disappointing as it meant they conceded eight goals in the four games they have played in this campaign.
Naturally, Ndlovu as the man in charge on the pitch, was distraught after losing back-to-back to the former Zambian champions and bowing out at this stage.
He said Harare City are now shifting attention to the domestic competitions where they are scheduled to face ZPC Kariba in the semi-finals of the ZNA Charities this coming weekend with the league programme also starting the following week.
“It was a tough game. We started well in the first half but then we just dropped our tempo in the second half. I don’t know why it happened that way but, as I said, it was not an easy match
“We now just have to focus on our next game and come up with a way forward,” said Ndlovu after the match.
Coach Taurai Mangwiro expressed disappointment with the defeat, particularly his side’s failure to defend set pieces.
“We knew that was their strengths from the onset. They are just good in the air and they have the height. Even at home, we conceded through set-pieces. They are very good at that and never wanted to push our game and give them such dead ball opportunities.
“What’s disappointing is the way we conceded. At this level, we can’t concede home and away from set pieces. I warned the boys, we even talked about it just before the game that we don’t need to be reckless in our third. Even Joey Antipas (the Chicken Inn coach), who played numerous friendly matches here, informed me of their strengths. We were our own worst enemies and it’s an embarrassing exit.
“It is embarrassing, considering that we failed to mark one player who happens to be the scorer of both goals. We even mentioned him during our discussion before the game but my boys went on to sleep when it matters most.
“We then lost concentration and conceded the third goal at full-time and that was very reckless of our defence,” Mangwiro added.
As newcomers in the African Safari, Mangwiro said they will learn from their mistakes and move on.
“It’s not the result we wished for. We can only hope that we will do better next time. It’s a learning process. We will take notes from such an exposure and move on.”
City made five changes to their team yesterday, bringing in goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube, Blessing Moyo, William Manondo, Crispen Dickson and goalscorer Chimutimunzeve to the starting line-up.
They looked on course until Zanaco pulled one back with 39 minutes on the clock when Tembo jumped above everyone else inside the box to head home the goal that complicated Harare City’s campaign.
Tembo was back to inflict more damage to the visitors when he headed another goal from another set-piece in the 80th minute before second-half substitute Daka took advantage of a howler by the City defence to score into an empty net.
Zanaco will now meet State Gabesien of Tunisia in the second round which starts on the weekend of April 8-10.
Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba said his boys showed great fighting spirit and are now looking forward to the next round.
“I think it had been very difficult to beat Harare City in Zimbabwe and here but I think my team rose to the occasion and we managed to get the victories home and away,” said Numba.
“With this team that we have, any player is able to score. Looking at the way we played last season, we had 14 different players who scored goals which means anyone can score. So I am not surprised that a defender scored two goals.
“We now just have to psyche up our players mentally so that they play a good game against the Tunisian team. I think they will rise to the occasion looking at the way they performed today and the game we played in Harare last week. We have a team that can beat the Tunisian team,” said Numba.
Harare City: T. Dube, B. Moyo, F. Madhanhanga, T. Ndlovu, C. Dickson, T. Samanja, J. Jam, W. Manondo (K. Kumwala, 49th minute), R. Chitiyo (T. Ruzvidzo, 75th minute), R. Manuvire, H. Chimutimunzeve (M. Vengesai, 70th minute)
Zanaco: Kola Racha, Ngoma Lee, Kapumbu Fackson, Tembo Ziyo, Chilufiya George, Kasonde Richard , Zulu Charles, Phiri Salulani, Sakala Saith, Funga Aubrey, Kabwe Roderick