Eddie Chikamhi in Zvishavane
FC Platinum………………. 0
Ngezi Platinum Stars…… 0
(FC Platinum won 5-3 after penalty shootout)
GOALKEEPER Petros Mhari saved a penalty kick to hand FC Platinum an early Christmas present following the shootout victory over Ngezi Platinum Stars in the final of the Chibuku Super Cup at Mandava yesterday.
Mhari’s save to deny Marvelous Mukumba from the spot during the lottery proved decisive after the platinum rivals had played a goalless draw at the end of extra-time.
Gift Mbweti sent Mandava into rapture when he converted the winning spot-kick, as the home team finished the tie break with a 100 percent record.
In fact, this was the second Chibuku Super Cup success for the Zvishavane side, who won the inaugural edition in 2014, when they edged Harare City in another penalty shoot-out.
Midfielder Innocent Mucheneka, Ralph Kawondera, Brian Banda, Nomore Chinyerere and Mbweti scored for FC Platinum in the shoot-out yesterday.
Qard Amini scored for Ngezi Platinum Stars when he took the side’s first spot-kick.
But Mhari gave FC Platinum the advantage when he dived to his left and parried out Mukumba’s spot-kick. FC Platinum players never let go the advantage and finished on top despite Denver Mukamba and Keith Murera also finding the target for Ngezi Platinum Stars.
The feat meant Mapeza and his men have now equalled Harare City’s record of winning two Chibuku Super Cup titles.
Mapeza was excited to be back on the podium with the team, seven years after leading the side to similar success.
“It’s massive. This is our third final. I think Harare City managed to win two trophies in four attempts. So for us it’s a massive achievement considering where we are coming from with Covid-19 and things like that. It’s massive for the boys,” said Mapeza.
The teams had played a goalless draw at the end of 120 minutes of play.
The match started off at high tempo with hosts FC Platinum taking most of the initiative, spurred on by the vociferous home crowd at Mandava.
Ngezi Platinum Stars also bused in a sizeable number of lively fans from Mhondoro to create an atmosphere fit for final.
After a period of exchanges, FC Platinum midfielder Brian Banda was the first to test the opponents with a snap shot at the half hour mark but goalkeeper Nelson Chadya went down to make a clean save.
FC Platinum’s exciting youngsters combined well in the box with Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya setting up Panashe Mutimbanyoka but the visiting goalkeeper reacted fast to thwart the danger from the Young Warriors forward.
Ngezi Platinum came from the breather fired up. Their coach Rodwell Dhlakama brought more urgency into the final third by throwing into the fray star midfielder Mukamba and McDonald Makuwe at the restart.
Makuwe almost silenced the home fans with a blistering long-range effort that beat goalkeeper Petros Mhari and bounced off the cross bar for a corner kick on 53 minutes.
The forward cracked another shot from from a distance but the ball gained more altitude and zoomed over.
The Zvishavane platinum miners managed to soak up the pressure and took the game back to the visitors.
But Mukamba beat the off-side trap in the 77th minute and rolled an inviting ball across the face of FC Platinum goal. However, defender Donald Dzvinyai made a sliding tackle to avert danger at the back post.
Ngezi Platinum’s Chibuku Super Cup star Bruno Mtigo, who had a quiet game, almost made his mark when he turned his marker inside the box but his shot was blocked out for corner a few minutes into extra-time.
But it was Mucheneka who came close at the end of the first 15 minutes of extra-time with a well struck long-range free-kick that produced the best out of the goalkeeper Chadya.
The Ngezi Platinum Stars keeper made another brilliant save towards the end of the game after substitute Nomore Chinyerere had found space and went for goal with a powerful grounder.
With the win, FC Platinum Stars managed to revenge for the 2016 final which was won by Ngezi at their Baobab fortress.
They bagged US$75 000 in prize money, to be paid in local currency at the prevailing official rate on the day.
They also get the ticket to represent Zimbabwe in the next edition of the CAF Confederation Cup, in the event that they don’t win the league title.
Ngezi Platinum Stars finished as the bridesmaids for the second time in succession following the 2019 run. They got US$50 000 for their efforts yesterday.
Their coach Dhlakama was distraught following yesterday’s defeat.
“Sometimes you need luck. If luck eludes you sometimes you have to think about it, go back to the drawing board and keep motivating the boys.
“The fact that we are on the second final in succession it means there is consistency on our part. Where there is consistency, it gives you hope going forward. Otherwise I am happy for the boys. They did very well,” said Dhlakama.
FC Platinum: P. Mhari, R. Kutsanzira, K. Mangiza, G. Bello, D. Dzvinyai, B. Moyo (R. Chinyengetere, 85th min), I. Mucheneka, B. Banda, P . Mutimbanyoka (R. Kawondera, 105th min), D. Teguru (N. Chinyerere, 105th min), T. Ngwenya (G. Mbweti, 85th min)
Ngezi Platinum Stars: N. Chadya, K. Murera, Q. Amini, P. Moyo, K. Chigwida, D. Chafa (A. Kaseke 88th min), M. Mukumba, N. Chintuli (W. Vuwa, 88th min), B . Mtigo (W. Makuva, 115th min), V. Kadonzvo (D. Mukamba, 46th min), A. Chivandire (M. Makuwe, 46th min)