Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter—
CAPS United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(0) 1
Harare City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
(Harare City won 4-3 on penalties)
HARARE City assistant coach Mkhupali “Mr Cooper” Masuku reckons yesterday’s performance which saw them rally from behind to beat CAPS United in the Zimbabwe National Army Charities Shield is a sign of the depth they have ahead of the Premiership marathon. The Sunshine Boys made a number of changes to their side which did duty in the CAF Confederation Cup, with coach Taurai Mangwiro resting a host of players who included goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube, midfielders Ronald Chitiyo, Raphael Manuvire, Tendai Samanja, skipper Temba Ndlovu as well as big striker Fransisco Zekumbawire.
Former Warriors goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupangedengu was also a pillar between the posts in the penalty lottery saving twice from Dominic Chungwa’s efforts and also blocking Leonard Tsipa’s spot kick to send his side through to the last four which also features FC Platinum, ZPC Kariba and Highlanders. Harare City are also preparing to face Zambia’s Zanaco in the Confederation Cup first round next weekend. And their assistant coach Masuku believes the fact that they managed to send into battle another team that edged past CAPS United at Rufaro yesterday is a sign of depth that will give them a positive selection headache.
The Sunshine Boys thrust into the team young players such as Tanaka Ruzvidzo, Tatenda Tumba and Jerry Chipangura — combining them with some senior players.
“I think really it was all about giving the youngsters a run in today’s game, just to see them in a proper match against CAPS United that on its own was good. If you see the way Tanaka, Tumba and all the boys played today, they showed something and going forward I think we have depth in the squad,” Masuku said.
Yet the Sunshine Boys were on the verge of exiting the competition and needed a late equaliser from forward Honey Chimutimunzeve who headed home two minutes before stoppage time. Substitute Chungwa, who was to be a villain in the penalty lottery, had thrust CAPS United into the lead.
Masuku also felt that their opponents lost the plot when they thought they had sealed victory after Chungwa’s 75th minute goal. “It was simple. They thought they had it in the bag when they scored that ball even if you look at the body language they were now slowing down here and there. But all we are instilling in our boys is that it is not yet over until it is over and they showed that today by scoring that goal when it appeared already over,” said Masuku.
Chungwa, who thought he had poised his team for a victory before the late equaliser, fell from grace in the penalty shoot-out when he failed to score the team’s fourth spot kick despite being given a second bite of the cherry after Harare referee Norman Matemera adjudged that City keeper Nyamupangedengu had encroached.
Disappointingly for CAPS United, Chungwa’s second attempt was similar to his first and again Nyamupangedengu read the effort well and blocked the shot. And the impressive keeper, who made all the difference in the game, saved another penalty when he blocked Tsipa’s spot kick to end the contest. Makepekepe coach Lloyd Chitembwe blamed “lack of character at a crucial stage’’.
“At the end of the day it is about character and unfortunately we were found wanting in that aspect during the penalty shoot-out,” Chitembwe said. Nonetheless, the Green Machine gaffer said he was happy with the team’s pre-season preparations.
He said they had an upper hand creating a host of chances which they fluffed and Tafadzwa Rusike’s miss just before the final whistle, when he found himself clear in front of goal, should have sealed victory for them.
“We are very happy with the progress that we have achieved so far, but like I have always said it is still work in progress and it’s good these things do happen before the season starts and these are the kind of games that we obviously look back and say this is one situation that pushed the team.
“We are there, in terms of preparation, it was just unfortunate that we lost during the penalty shoot-out but generally if we were to look at the balance of play, I am sure we were in complete control of the match.
“So we are satisfied from that point and also the fact that we managed to create very good scoring situations, is also a sign of good things. “What’s left is probably the conversion of those chances into goals, I am sure that is one thing that is lacking that can be rectified. “In terms of numbers, I think we had very good numbers inside the box but unfortunately we didn’t do what we were supposed to do in terms of making sure that we got to the ball first,” said Chitembwe.
CAPS United: C. Mverechena, Z. Biseki (T. Rusike 46th minute), R. Pfumbidzai, M. Mwanjali (D. Dauda 70th minute), S. Makatuka, K. Nyamupfukudza, J. Ngodzo, H. Zvirekwi, P. Bamusi, A. Gutu (D. Chungwa 53th minute), L. Tsipa.
Harare City: M. Nyamupangedengu, B. Moyo, R. Uchena, C. Dickson, J. Jam, B. Maglasi (H. Chimutimunzeve 76th minute) W. Manondo, G. Chimwemwe (T. Tumba 59th minute), T. Ruzvidzo, J. Chipangura.