Hwange, Chicken Inn share spoils
Tobias Mandoreba, Hwange Correspondent
Hwange 0-0 Chicken Inn
A fired-up Hwange put up a dazzling performance and showed all the hunger and appetite for maximum points but in the end, could not devour Chicken Inn as the coalminers and the Gamecocks shared spoils in this final Castle Lager Premier Soccer league match.
Hwange technical bench, players and fans left the stadium fuming after the final whistle as they felt the officiating cost them maximum points in a contest they gave everything and played as if their lives depended on it.
The soccer crazy Hwange community will not have much issues with the match referee Christine Mpanza, but a bone to chew with first assistant referee Francis Chirwa whom they felt had a huge bearing in denying Chipangano maximum points with his decisions.
Chirwa’s nightmare with home fans started in the 63rd minute when she consulted Mpanza only to overturn a penalty decision that she had granted after she adjudged that a Chicken Inn defender had handled the ball in an attempt to block a Shepherd Gadzikwa goal-bound effort.
Fifteen minutes later Hwange thought they had grabbed the much-needed goal through substitute James Chivasa but again Chirwa left the home fans seething with fury as he flagged the goal for offside.
Away from Chirwa’s talking points, the match started at a cracking pace with both teams trading punches with roving Chicken Inn midfielder Michael Charamba’s dipping free-kick missing the target by a few inches.
Moments later, the hosts launched a swift counter-attack from the left with left back Raylton Maphosa sending in a great cross into the box which midfielder Shepherd Mhlanga appeared to have handled under pressure but Hwange’s appeals for a spot kick were waved away by referee Mpanza.
Hwange’s free-kick specialist Marcelline Mlilo then tested Chicken Inn and Zimbabwe national team goalie Bernard Donovan on the quarter-hour mark with a blistering free-kick from the edge of the box but Donovan was equal to the task.
Donovan was to deny Mlilo again several times in the game.
Chipangano striker Brighton Makopa also missed a gilt-edged chance on the hour mark as he shot tamely at goal after a swift Hwange counter-attack.
Chicken Inn best chance of the game came five minutes from the breather when defender Mpumelelo Bhebhe was allowed a free header inside the box but his effort sailed inches off the mark with Madeya desperate for a reprieve.
He had latched on a beautiful cross from the impressive Charamba.
The action continued to swing from one point to the other up to the two talking points in which the first assistant referee took centre stage.
Chipangano were not deterred by the setback as they continued attacking the visitors’ goal and Donovan proved why he is the nation’s number one goalminder as he produced a top-drawer save in injury-time to deny Chivasa from a one on one situation to leave the animated home fans cursing their football gods.
In the end, both teams had to settle for a draw but Hwange coach Nation Dube was far from being amused by the officiating.
“Yes, it’s a draw because it is found in a game but the officiating we witnessed today clearly cost us maximum points. It makes me unhappy to get only a point,” said Dube.
His opposite number Prince Matore was happy to get a point on the road.
“It was a fair and balanced game of soccer and I can’t complain over the point. We also got opportunities even to get the winner but that was not to be. We drew too many games this season and this pulled us down,” said Matore.
Before the game, veteran Hwange utility player and midfield kingpin Gadzikwa was honoured for playing 100 games for the coalminers and was presented with a team jersey before the game by two former players Charles Ncube and Stanley Nkomo.
Gadzikwa replicated the gesture with a decent show for the coalminers in the middle of the park throughout the lively contest.
Hwange: Nedrick Madeya; Jofias Mumpande; Lukas Sibanda; Ralyton Maphosa; Godwin Goriyati; Solomon Sithole; Brighton Makopa; Shepherd Gadzikwa; Loyd Mutoma (JamesChivasa 55th minute); Marcelline Mlilo; Tendai Muvhuti( Cluivert Tshuma 83rd minuye)
Chicken Inn: Bernard Donovan; Malvin Hwata; Michael Charamba; Arthur Chinda; Richard Hachiro; Nelson Ketala; George Majika( Brighton Ncube 88th minute); Itai Mabunu; Genious Mutungamiri (Brian Dzingai 88th minute) Muza 53rd minute); Shepard Mhlanga (Brian Muza 88th minute); Mpumelelo Bhebhe