Geophrey Sifani recently in Pretoria, South Africa
MORE than 800 fans cheered Chicken Inn when it played South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Atteridgeville in Pretora on Saturday night.
The Gamecocks who are out of the Caf Champions League went into the second leg with a slender 1-0 lead, which proved inadequate as they went down 0-2.
One bus ferried the Gamecocks’ fans from Bulawayo while the rest were Zimbabweans based in South Africa as well as Sundowns’ rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates’ fans. Chicken Inn’s jovial supporters took over the stadium’s western stand while Sundowns’ fans painted the eastern stand yellow and the other stands largely stood empty.
Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Highlanders’ fans wore their club regalia while cheering Chicken Inn.
The dejected Bulawayo-based fans returned home yesterday and most commended Chicken Inn’s effort, while others blamed the referee for alleged poor officiating despite the Madagascan whistleman Andofetra Avombitara getting most decisions spot on.
Chicken Inn’s self-styled number one fan McCloud Moyo, who was oozing with confidence on the long bus journey to Pretoria on Friday night, sunk into his seat along with the other fans when Avombitara pointed to the spot on the stroke of full time soon after the fourth official had indicated three added minutes.
The match seemed headed for the dreaded penalty shootout with Sundowns leading 1-0 when star forward Khama Billiat dazzled his countrymen with some fancy footwork, waltzing past three defenders before Passmore Bernard slightly clipped the Zimbabwean striker from behind just inside the box and Avombitara pointed to the spot.
At the end of the match, a disappointed Moyo said he was proud of the Chicken Inn players for doing their best.
“We’ve to accept that we lost, but the game was good, the boys gave it their best shot and we’re happy for the team,” said Moyo.