Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FC Platinum 0-0 Ngezi Platinum Stars
(FC Platinum won 5-3 after penalty shootouts)
FC Platinum won the country’s first competition after the return of football following a two-year break due to Covid-19, needing penalty shootouts to claim the Chibuku Super Cup at the expense of Ngezi Platinum Stars at Mandava Stadium, Zvishavane yesterday.
It was a highly contested final, a befitting and epic one since the return of football, as it brought the best in terms of tactical awareness from each side with both coaches, Norman Mapeza of FC Platinum and Rodwell Dhlakama of Ngezi planning well for the encounter.
The epic battle was decided through the penalty lottery, with FC Platinum goalie Petros Mhari being the hero of the day as he saved Ngezi’s second spot kick by defensive midfielder Marvelous Mukumba who had a brilliant game.
The champions, FC Platinum who won their second Chibuku Super Cup title in third attempt, had all their penalty takers converted.
Innocent Mucheneka converted the first one for FC Platinum, sending Nelson Chadya the wrong way.
The second taker for FC Platinum Ralph Kawondera, introduced in the second half of extra time scored the second, Brian Banda made it three for FC Platinum, silencing Ngezi supporters.
Nomore Chinyerere, ex-Hwange also scored and Gift Mbweti put the final nail on Ngezi’s coffin.
Qadr Amini hit the roof with the first penalty for Ngezi, before Mukumba failed to beat Mhari. Keith Murera also hit the target and so was Denver Mukamba.
Mapeza, winner of the 2014 edition when the tournament was reintroduced, was elated with the victory, giving Ngezi credit for pushing them to victory.
“First half we were a better side with distance chances. Ngezi came very strong in the second half. Ngezi gave us a good game. When it went for the shootouts, it was a lottery.
“This is massive for me, especially winning the competition coming from Covid-19. Harare City won in four attempts, and this was our third try,” Mapeza said.
FC Platinum started the match on an electrifying pace, pressing Ngezi to their half but failed to turn that dominance into goals.
It was Ngezi who almost hit the hosts on a quick break in the 17th minute, when forward Anelka Chivandire was unlucky not to find the goal as his effort hit the cross bar, with Mhari cleanly beaten.
Mucheneka’s snap shot at the edge of the box went straight to the hands of Chadya in the 28th minute.
Chadya made a big save, keeping Ngezi in the game as he spread himself to deny Panashe Mutimbanyoka in a one-on-one situation forcing a corner in the 33rd minute.
Ngezi returned from the breather a rejuvenated side.
Introduced at the start of second half for Ngezi, replacing Chivandire, McDonald Makuwe’s long-range shot got an equally brilliant save from Mhari in the 53rd minute.
Three minutes later, FC Platinum’s central defender Donald Dzingayi escaped conceding a penalty as he pulled Bruno Mtigo when he charged towards goal in the box, with the latter weak shot directed straight at Mhari. Referee Lawrence Zimondi ignored penalty cries from Ngezi.
Ngezi’s best chance of the day, a goal that should have probably finished off the match fell to Mukamba in the 80th minute when he beat an offside trap on the left side.
Instead of going for goal, the former Warriors skipper made a poor decision, shying away from responsibility to make a square pass to Nyasha Chintuli but the ball was intercepted by FC Platinum’s central defender Gift Bello.
At stroke of fulltime, another Ngezi half chance went begging, with Makuwe’s slicing effort off a Mtigo cross from the right missing the target by inches.
Chadya dived full-length to his left to parry for corner a stinger from Mucheneka in 114th minute.
Dhlakama said: “When you get into penalties it’s a lottery, guess-work time.
We controlled the game but it’s unfortunate we didn’t convert the half chances that came our way. We take the good performances from this game.
“Sometimes you need luck, if luck eludes you there’s nothing you can do. On a positive note, being in the second final shows there’s consistency and it means a lot.
Now we’ll go back, try lift the boys’ spirits and move on.”
FC Platinum: Petros Mhari, Rahman Kutsanzira, Gift Bello, Kelvin Mangiza, Brian Banda, Blessing Moyo (Rodwell Chinyengetere 85’), Innocent Mucheneka, Donald Dzvinyai, Panashe Mutimbanyoka (Ralph Kawondera 105), Donald Teguru (Nomore Chinyerere 105’), Thandowenkosi Ngwenya (Gift Mbweti 85’)
Ngezi Platinum Stars: Nelson Chadya, Kudzai Chigwida, Devon Chafa (Arter Kaseke 87’), Keith Murera, Marvelous Mukumba, Polite Moyo, Bruno Mtigo, Anelka Chivandire (MacDonald Makuwe 46’), Nyasha Chintuli (Walter Vuwa 87’), Qadr Amini, Valentine Kadonzvo (Denver Mukamba 46’)[email protected]