From Paul Mundandi in Zvishavane
Chicken Inn………………. (2) 3
CAPS United……………… (0) 2
CHICKEN INN lifted the NetOne Charity Shield in style yesterday when they beat their much-fancied opponents CAPS United in the final at Mandava yesterday. Chicken Inn pocketed a cool US$60 000 for their efforts while CAPS United received US$40 000.
The two semi-finalists – FC Platinum and Monomotapa – received US$20 000 each. Tendai Mukambi inspired the Mandla Mpofu-coached Chicken Inn side to their maiden silverware after finding the back of the net twice as CAPS United rallied back towards the death but to no avail.
Marshall Marima had given the Gamecocks an early lead in the 18th minute. Before the match there was a downpour and that kept away some fans from attending the match and the FC Platinum stadium was half empty as most fans chose to stay at home.
Those who attended the match and braved the rains and chilly weather thereafter were treated to an exciting final which the Bulawayo outfit was in total control. Both teams were cautious in the first quarter of the match but Chicken Inn, who enjoyed much support, found the opener in the 18th minute.
Mukambi, who had a good game, broke loose on the right and fed Marima whose right-footer went past Makepekepe goalminder Winston Chiwetu. The goal was a relief to the FC Platinum fans who rallied behind the Bulawayo team after CAPS United knocked their side out in the semi-final on Saturday.
Four minutes later Mukambi could have increased the tally but his well-taken effort outside the box went over the bar with Chiwetu at the wrong side of action.
The Gamecocks were causing too much trouble in the Green Machine territory and that forced caretaker coach Brenna Msiska to pull out Rahman Kutsanzira but the substitution was not effective as Chicken Inn doubled their lead before the break.
Mukambi, who had a field day in the CAPS United defence, made it 2-0 when he fired the ball beyond the reach of Chiwetu to silence the Makepekepe fans. Chicken Inn continued to cause havoc and added another goal through the boot of Mukambi.
Marima got the best out of his marker and fed the ball to Mukambi who had the easiest of tasks to slot the ball home with the CAPS United defence at sixes and sevens.
The Harare side’s first meaningful attack came in the 72nd minute when Moses Muchenje sent through former Gunners player Hardlife Zvirekwi but his effort hit the crossbar and the rebound found no taker. It was, however, the tonic that CAPS United needed as the attempt gave them some breath of life.
They were later to be rewarded in the 81st minute through the industrious Zvirekwi. Midfielder Moses Muchenje shook off his marker on the left and spotted Zvirekwi who had the easiest task of placing the ball beyond the reach of Chicken Inn goalkeeper Liberty Chirava.
The CAPS United fans, who had long lost hope after watching their side trailing 3-0, started cheering on the Green Machine expecting another goal.
Zvirekwi’s former teammate at Gunners Leonard Fiyado then took advantage of some sloppy marking by the Chicken Inn defence and fired a shot that Chirava never saw in the 84th minute.
CAPS United then started playing some purposeful football in search of an equaliser and they could have snatched it if lady luck had smiled on them.
Twice CAPS United failed to convert the chances that came their way in the dying minutes with Fiyado blasting his effort wide and Zvirekwi missing the target by some inches. CAPS United coach Msiska was, however, not disappointed by the defeat.
“I am happy with what we have achieved as a team. Today was not our day after playing a tight game against FC Platinum on Saturday. I would like to thank our fans for the support and I am now going back to the drawing board in preparation for the coming season as I want to achieve more with this team,” he said.
Chicken Inn gaffer Mpofu was naturally happy with his side’s victory and he dedicated the win to the late Adam Ndlovu, the club’s former coach who died in a car accident in December last year.
“This is Adam Ndlovu’s project and we had dedicated this tournament to him. I am also dedicating the coming season to him because we need to win another trophy for him. I want also a top four finish and we are going to cut these celebrations short because we need to prepare for the new season. Good times are coming to the Chicken Inn family,” he said.
It was a sweet victory for Chicken Inn and their players were singing a song dedicated to Ndlovu after the match. Their team captain Felix Chindungwa pocketed US$1 000 after he was voted man-of-the-match.
Chicken Inn: L. Chirava, M. Jackson, B. Juru, T. Ndoro, F. Chindungwe, T. Mukambi (C. Kamhapa 77thminute), M. Marima( R. Jongwe 65th minute,T. Goredema 91st minute), C. Nkomo, B. Mbiriri, D. Phiri, Z. Ngodzo.
CAPS United: W. Chiwetu, R. Kutsanzira (T. Mahori 33rd minute), L. Fiyado, T. Kumbuyani, R. Pfumbidzai, M. Muchenje, H. Zvirekwi, A. Chiveya, T. Nyamandwe (D. Chungwa 61st minute), B. Zabula, J. Mutambiranwa (T. Samanja 50th minute).