Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
CAPS United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
Chicken Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
CAPS United coach Taurai Mangwiro said yesterday’s victory over visiting Chicken Inn in the Castle Lager Premiership soccer match at the National Sports Stadium is what they needed to silence their critics after losing to bitter rivals Dynamos last week.
Mangwiro, who has faced criticism from a section of the Green Machine fans who accuse him of being a Dynamos son, said they badly needed to win yesterday’s game after the “noise that came out after we lost to Dynamos last weekend”.
And it was a sweet victory for the Green Machine as their arch-rivals Dynamos were held to a goalless draw by Black Rhinos at Rimuka yesterday, while leaders Highlanders also played out a goalless draw against How Mine at Barbourfields.
CAPS United got the crucial goal from striker Kenneth Bulaji in the 15th minute when he beat Chicken Inn’s goal minder Elvis Chipezeze from close range to secure the win for his side.
Earlier on, 11 minutes into the game, Ronald Pfumbidzai had failed to convert a penalty when the referee pointed to the spot after Bulaji was brought down inside the box.
Pfumbidzai’s effort was blocked by Chipezeze.
However, Mangwiro was pleased with the result despite having to leave on the edge especially in the second half as their opponents were so threatening.
“It wasn’t an easy match I must confess but the good thing is we managed to grind a result and its three points that we needed. There was so much noise after the loss to Dynamos and we needed to respond today . . . I thought we did well to have gotten all three points. And it’s what we needed in our season.
“We would want to be nearer the top teams as much as possible so that we keep within touching distance with them and like I am saying we don’t have to look at just one match, but it’s a war. There are battles in it, last week we lost a battle and today we have won a battle. Let’s look to the next battle,” said Mangwiro.
Bulaji, who received a knock when he was brought down in the 11th minute, was forced to make an early exit in the 27th minute as the injury continued to trouble him. He was replaced by Pervington Zimunya who seemed to be having a bad day in the office and was booed by a section of the CAPS United fans.
However, Mangwiro was not amused by the fans’ behaviour as he said it has negative effects on players, adding that it affected also goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube who had been on the sidelines until yesterday.
Dube put up a remarkable performance yesterday, especially in the second half where he had to make some crucial saves as Chicken Inn were bombarding the CAPS United area in search of an equaliser.
“To me he (Dube) has always been a top keeper. Jorum Muchambo saved us very well when Tafadzwa was on the bench and today it was Tafadzwa’s turn and he had a good show but all I am saying is people shouldn’t subject our players to unnecessary pressure.
“They shouldn’t see us as people who do not know what we are doing. What we would need is their support going forward not this blame games or what.
“Tafadzwa was under-performing because of the pressure coming from the fans, the same fans that were today singing songs of praise for him and people need to believe that a player can have an off day on the pitch,” said Mangwiro.
CAPS United dominated the first half of the game, creating a number of chances with Chicken Inn’s real scoring opportunity coming five minutes before the break when Bhekimpilo Ncube’s cross from the left found Thabani Goredema unmarked but his header went over the bar.
The visitors, however, came back a rejuvenated side in the last half causing havoc for the home team’s defence.
Nicholas Alifandika had to clear the ball from the line from an Ismael Lawe’s effort in the 82nd minute as the visitors were pressing for an equaliser.
Five minutes later Dube made another crucial save when Lawrence Mhlanga shot from close range.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas was a disappointed man as his side suffered their fourth consecutive defeat.
“Once again we came short . . . I would say the boys put up a spirited performance especially in the second half and we did everything to win the game but unfortunately it didn’t just come out.
“The biggest problem we are suffering from now is a bit of lady luck. If we had a bit of lady luck we could have won this game hands down but luck just eluded us.
“It’s a difficult period (for us) at the moment but as a coach all you can do is just try keep working harder,” said Antipas
CAPS United: T. Dube, T. Kumbuyani, G. Nyirenda, S. Makatuka, R. Pfumbidzai (T. Mukanahiri 90miuntes), T. Samanja, T. Mahori (L. Fiyado 65minutes), H. Zvirekwi, A. Alifandika, K. Bulaji (P. Zimunya 27minutes), H. Chimutimunzeve.
Chicken Inn: E. Chipezeze, M. Jackson, D. Lunga, J. Bernard, L. Mhlanga, B. Juru (T. Banda 52minutes), C. Matawu (C. Nkomo 84minutes), B. Ncube, I. Lawe, M. Dube (L. Chibwiro 68minutes).