(Harare City win 4-3 on penalties)
HARARE City assistant coach Mkhupali “Mr Cooper” Masuku says yesterday’s performance which saw them beat Caps United in the Zimbabwe National Army Charities Shield showed that they have depth this season and are likely to have positive headache when selecting the team which will do duty in the African Safari this weekend.
The Sunshine Boys progressed to the semi-finals when forward Honey Chimutimunzeve headed into the nets, two minutes before stoppage time to take the game into the lottery which they won.
From the team that played in Madagascar and beat AS Adema 3-1 last weekend, eight of the players that started in that game, goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube, Munya Nyenye, Temba Ndlovu, Farai Madhananga, Tendai Samanja, Raphael Manuvire, Ronald Chitiyo and Francesco Zekumbawire were given a rest yesterday.
Coach, Taurai Mangwiro, thrust into the team some young players such as Tanaka Ruzvidzo, Tatenda Tumba and Jerry Chipangura combining them with some senior players.
The players did not disappoint, booking a semi-final berth in the tournament which now features eight teams.
“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 that played today, they showed something and going forward I think we’ve depth in the squad.
“We gave them a chance and I think they did very well,” said Masuku.
The former Highlanders midfielder admitted that a victory a week before hosting Zambian side Zanaco will give them confidence in that crunch Confederation Cup first round match.
“The victory is a boost for us before we play our next match and this is also a headache for us as coaches in terms of selection,” he said.
Masuku believes their opponents lost it when they thought they had sealed a victory when Caps United striker Dominic Chungwa put the team in front in the 75th minute.
“It was simple. They thought they had it in the bag when they scored that goal even if you look at the body language they were now slowing down here and there. But all what we’re instilling in our boys is that it’s not over until it’s over and they showed that today by scoring that goal when it was 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 shootout when he failed to score the team’s fourth spot kick despite being ordered to retake the penalty again by referee Norman Matemera who adjudged that the Harare City ’keeper had moved before the kick was taken. Disappointingly, Chungwa’s second attempt was similar and again was saved by goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupangedengu.
And the impressive ’keeper, who made all the difference in the game, saved another penalty when he blocked Leonard Tsipa’s spot kick when the veteran striker was supposed to convert the fifth kick and give a lease of life to his team after Chungwa’s miss.
To their credit, Harare City, converted all their spot kicks which were taken by defender Crispen Dickson, Tatenda Tumba, Ray Uchena and James Jam, winning the match with a penalty kick to spare.
Caps United Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, Hardlife Zvirekwi and Ronald Pfumbidzayi converted the first three penalty kicks.
Coach Lloyd Chitembwe said they lacked character at a crucial stage.
“At the end of the day it’s about character and unfortunately we were found wanting in that aspect during the penalty shoot out,” he 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 in front of the net with his connection missing the target, could have carried the day for the former champions.
“We’re very happy with the progress that we’ve achieved so far, but like I’ve always said it’s still work in progress and it’s good these things don’t 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’re there, in terms of preparation, it was just unfortunate that we lost during the penalty shootout but generally if we were to look at the balance of play, I’m sure we were in complete control of the match.
“So we’re satisfied from that point and also the fact that we managed to create very good scoring situations it’s also a very good sign of good things. What’s left is probably the conversion of those chances into goals, I’m sure that’s 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.