Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter—
CHAMPIONS CAPS United served up a sumptuous dish of attacking and stylish football that lit the night at the National Sports Stadium yesterday and, if this served to give us a glimpse of what to expect in the Castle Lager Premiership this weekend, then fans should be ready for some fireworks. Dominic Chungwa scored a brace in the 3-1 destruction of Highlanders to take full control of the race for the Golden Boot with 14 goals — two clear of the chasing pack.
Midfielder Devon Chafa, the best player on the night, scored a contender for the Goal of the Season with a beauty, while Bosso goalkeeper Nedrick Madeya produced a contender for the Save of the Season after a miraculous flying save to deny CAPS United goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda from a free-kick. With the champions having set the tempo, it’s now left for those who are in the championship race to respond in a decisive weekend for title with leaders FC Platinum taking on Harare City at Rufaro today and Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum battling it out in Ngezi tomorrow.
Last night’s match, broadcast live on SuperSport, was one of the best games this season and Bosso also had their chances as they struck the post in the first half and missed a sitter too on a day when Gabriel Nyoni had one of his best games for the Bulawayo giants. But towards the end of the show, CAPS United produced an exhibition of passing football, with midfielder Joel Ngodzo the conductor of the orchestra.
Chungwa struck after nine minutes when he buried the rebound from an acute angle before he completed his brace in the 59th minute with a close header from Hardlife Zvirekwi’s pinpoint cross. Chafa scored a beauty that gave Madeya no chance, the ball hit from distance drawing its last breath just as it angled into the top of the goal. “He is a classy player, Devon Chafa,’’ Steve Vickers, commentating the game live on SuperSport, said.
“We have seen a goal to remember from Devon Chafa, a real beauty.’’ Vickers kept wondering how Chafa has failed to make the break into a foreign club yet. Veteran Ralph Matema found the consolation for Bosso in the 69th minute. CAPS United assistant coach Fungai Tostao Kwashi was delighted by the win.
“It was a great result. It was all about unity and team work. You could see from the first two minutes we could have gotten a goal from Hardlife Zvirekwi and another goal from Chungwa. The way we started the game set the tone for the evening and long may it continue. But like, I said the most important thing is the team. We thank God for the victory and all the people who came to support us. Fourteen goals for Chungwa. Great for the team, but the most important thing is not about Chungwa.’’
Bosso substitute Ray Lunga, who showed flashes of brilliance in the second half, set up his side’s consolation when veteran Matema headed in his cross from the left with the ball coming off the underside of the crossbar and bouncing just over the line. King Nadolo, another substitute, also impressed and one wonders why coach Erol Akbay didn’t give them a run in the first team. Nyoni had a great strike from just outside the area superbly turned over the bar by Sibanda.
Akbay was disappointed by the defeat, which could mean more misery for the Dutch coach following a disappointing season with the Bulawayo giants. “It was actually two phases. First we defended very badly and we gave CAPS United too much space to play football. But we also had our chances. “First half I think three or four goals and second half we had two or three chances, but we only scored one goal. In such situations you cannot win a match.
“But I am surprised every time that a big club like CAPS United need the assistance of the ball boys to win a match. I am sorry for them, really,” said Akbay. This was a very good show by the champions who have shown they have players on whom they can build a team that can challenge for the league championship next season. Coach Lloyd Chitembwe even introduced prodigal son, Fugo, of Equatorial Guinea, who is back at the Green Machine after spending some time in his home country.
Vickers said CAPS United were his team of the season, even in a campaign in which they will not be able to defend their championship, because of their exploits on the continent this year in which they went all the way to the group stages of the CAF Champions League. The Green Machine eliminated five-time African champions TP Mazembe from the Champions League and to demonstrate that the Congolese side are not lightweight opponents, they have qualified for the final of the Confederation Cup. Makepekepe also beat another five-time African champion Zamalek of Egypt.
CAPS Utd: E. Sibanda, K. Nyamupfukudza (M. Muchenje, 70th min), V. Musarurwa, G. Goriyati, S. Makatuka, D. Chafa, J. Ngodzo (A. Fugo, 81st min), P. Bamusi, H. Zvirekwi, D. Chungwa, J. Zhuwawu (A. Kambanje, 84th min)
Highlanders: N. Madeya, B. Ncube (R. Lunga, 65th min), H. Moyo, P. Mudhuwa, B. Phiri, T. Ngulube, S. Munawa, G. Makaruse, R. Kutsanzira (K. Nadolo, 49th min), G. Nyoni, R. Matema (A. Gahadzikwa, 81st min)