Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
BULAWAYO City are confident of progressing to the next stage of the Chibuku Super Cup at the expense of their quarterfinals opponents Yadah FC who they meet at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
Amakhosi, as Bulawayo City are nicknamed, are however, not underrating their opponents who stormed into the quarterfinals courtesy of the PSL’s ad hoc committee that found Chicken Inn guilty of causing the abandonment of the first round match at Ascot Stadium two weeks ago. The game was awarded to Yadah on a 3-0 scoreline.
The Harare side had been awarded what Chicken Inn claimed was a dubious penalty deep into the match and according to the PSL ad hoc committee, the Gamecocks then walked off the pitch forcing the match officials to eventually call off the match. The penalty was awarded when the two sides were tied at nil all.
The Gamecocks have since denied that they walked off the pitch.
Chicken Inn secretary-general, Tawengwa Hara, said he felt his club received a raw deal from PSL who forced them to play their home match on neutral ground.
“It’s all nonsense. These guys wrote to us asking for a report of what happened during our match against Yadah in Gweru on Monday 25th (September) wanting the report by 5PM on the following day.
“We responded to them. We wrote it without seeing the referee’s report, the commissioner’s report. The referee report only came on the 27th of September after we had submitted our report.
“The match commissioner’s report came on Monday, the day when they were sitting. Our report was mainly about what happened at Ascot and it was very clear that Chicken Inn did not walk off the pitch.
“The issue of walking out of the ground is out because even the referee and the match commissioner do not say that in their reports.
“After the final whistle we did our warm down, we did not prevent the referee or Yadah from taking the penalty. We did not cause the match abandonment but it was the referee.
“PSL never charged us but surprisingly the ad hoc committee, during their adjudication, put a charge to Chicken Inn Football club during their sitting.
“We were not given enough time to respond to the charge. We were ordered to give a report of what happened and not to respond to a charge. The rules of natural justice demand that you be given enough time to respond to a charge,” Hara told our Harare Bureau.
However, Bulawayo City coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu said they will not look much into how Yadah progressed but will concentrate on their own preparations.
He said the will try to avoid conceding first by being cautious at the back while keeping their concentration levels at maximum.
After dumping out mighty Dynamos, Bulawayo City have surprisingly gone on a two match winless streak, losing to Tsholotsho and Hwange.
“We just have to progress to the next stage of this tournament. We don’t want to concede first, very cautious at the back, concentrate from the onset but also playing our normal passing game. Morale is very high in camp and the boys want this win so much,” said Mpofu.
On their day Bulawayo City can easily dispatch the league debutants and they have the players who can stand the heat in Soccer Star of the Year finalist favourite Zibusiso Sibanda who has been consistent at the back, the fluid Ishmael Wadi as well as goal getter Mkhululi Moyo.
In the first league encounter at Emagumeni, Bulawayo City won 2-1.
A potentially explosive encounter is also at Maglas Stadium tomorrow afternoon where Shabanie Mine are playing host to Caps United.
The quarterfinals roar to life this afternoon in the Midlands and the capital where Chapungu welcome How Mine while Harare City lock horns with Black Rhinos at Rufaro Stadium in a match that can go either way.
With Chicken Inn, Bantu Rovers and Highlanders all out of the tournament, it is Bulawayo City and How Mine who now carry the city’s hopes. — @skhumoyo2000.