Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
KELVIN Kaindu, the Highlanders coach believes their 1-0 win over Shabanie Mine in the first round of the Chibuku Cup on Sunday has brought back confidence to the boys and is a step towards the final.
Bosso finally remembered how to score and win with a Pasca Manhanga wonder strike in the 35th minute and the goal proved to be their passage to the next stage and with it a guaranteed $20,000.
Highlanders had not tasted a win in 450 minutes of football and players were understandably feeling tense before the match especially at Ascot Stadium, a venue they had not registered a win.
“It’s good for us especially winning at Ascot Stadium where we have not been doing well,” said Kaindu.
While not fully committing himself, the Zambian said the win was indeed a step towards the final and with a bit of hard work, that objective could be achieved.
“It’s a step in the right direction, we hope and indeed pray that we progress all the way to the final and step by step I am sure we will,” he said.
Kaindu said his boys were ready for any opposition in the quarter-finals even though they were aware that the next stage would even be tougher.
Highlanders are the most decorated team in the Chibuku Cup and are the only team in the league to have won the cup four times since its inception way back in 1966. They won the Chibuku Cup in 1973, 1980, 1984 and 1986 while in 1976, 1985 1988 they were losing finalists.
In 1976 they were beaten 4-0 by Zimbabwe Saints while in 1985 it was Arcadia who beat them 1-0 with Saints winning 1-0 courtesy of a Jimmy Phiri strike.
While Highlanders were celebrating their win, it was like a funeral parlour in the capital as Dynamos, never having won the tournament since its inception, bowed out at the first hurdle when they lost 1-0 to Black Rhinos in a match that ended in dramatic fashion following two red cards and an expulsion which saw missiles flying again in domestic football.
Average but overrated and ill disciplined Rodrick Mutuma, a flop in the South African league, was shown a straight red card by Batsirayi Muchenje for headbutting Obey Gada deep into the match. Gada also saw red after he retaliated while Rhinos coach Jostein Mathuthu-Mambo and his assistant Gift Kamuriwo were expelled.
Another shock result was at the Colliery Stadium as Lowveld side Triangle bundled Hwange out of the returning cup with a 4-3 penalty shootout win following a nil all stalemate after regulation time.
The writing was on the wall very early as Hwange missed two consecutive penalty kicks which were saved by hero of the day Ronald Mudimu who dived to his right to save efforts from Farai Vimisai and Tonisani Sibelo.
While Hwange was having a nightmare, goalkeeper Mudimu and Blessing Chimwamuchere slotted in the first two kicks for Triangle.
Alec Marime gave Hwange hope by banging in the third spot kick with veteran goalkeeper Timothy Sibanda giving Hwange a glimmer of hope by saving Tatenda Tsuro’s effort to leave the scores at 2-1.
Both Andrew Tshuma and captain Gerald Ndlovu then slotted the remaining spot kicks for the miners but Tichaona Chipunza and Nelson Menson were also spot on to leave the visitors on cloud nine with a 4-3 victory.
“Football can be cruel sometimes, we dominated play but Triangle seemed content with a draw and take the game to the shootout lottery. Our boys played well and its only that we did not bury our chances and for that I am disappointed but our fans need not panic thinking that we are sinking,” said Hwange assistant coach Brian Njobvu who was in charge of the team as head coach Nation Dube is in Harare for a Caf A coaching course.
Chipangano are away to a wounded Dynamos in their next league match.
At Mandava Stadium, How Mine won the Bulawayo battle away from home after beating Chicken Inn 1-0 and with the win, more pressure mounted on head coach Joe Antipas and his assistant Prince Matore.
Sources said the duo has since been given a one match ultimatum, the same as before the Hwange match in which they grabbed a last minute winner.