By Ricky Zililo
HARARE City won their second major cup since gaining promotion to topflight football six years ago when they beat How Mine 3-1 to lift the Chibuku Super Cup in a final played at Rufaro Stadium on Saturday.
Harare City turned up the heat in the second half to score three goals inside eight minutes through Edwin Madanhanga and a brace by William Manondo.How Mine got their face-saver from Peter “Rio” Moyo.
Harare City will now represent Zimbabwe in next year’s Caf Confederation Cup.
Instead of celebrating their cup glory, Harare City coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube said his team’s focus is on saving their ship from sinking as they are among the teams staring relegation.
Ncube was the last coach standing after 90 minutes of football by getting the better of his How Mine counterpart Kelvin Kaindu.
The two had been involved in a war of words in the run-up to the final over alleged use of juju and fired salvos at each other after Saturday’s final.
Minutes before the match, Kaindu went to wipe off some “dirt” from the Vietnam end goalposts where Harare City coincidentally scored their three goals.
“It’s not about superstition; I think it was unfair for the PSL to have given Harare City an advantage to play the final at home. This is a city council team and I believe part of the council job is to ensure the environment is clean, but I can tell you the environment is not clean. It’s only at Rufaro where you find dirty goalposts. I had to change my career and wipe the goalposts before the game started and they scored all the goals in the same goal,” said Kaindu after the match.
Responding to Kaindu, Ncube said: “What do they (dirty posts) have to do with scoring and defending? Then if he is a man of God, how does he get affected? Don’t blaspheme.”
Ncube said How Mine dominated his side in the first half and early stages of the second stanza, but blundered by pulling out Kuda Musharu for Adolf Muganyi in the 57th minute.
“We were playing a coach who thinks and that’s why we struggled in the first half. We knew they’ll come at us and we also knew that they are a team that plays well in the first 45 minutes, so we had to absorb that pressure. At half time we had to think and be ahead of the How Mine coach,” said Ncube.
“The turning point for us was when they took off Kuda Musharu; that’s when we started playing the ball from the back, building our play going forward.
The transition from defence was positive. We were more involved in the second half and I told the boys to retain possession, not to be scared because they failed to punish us in the first half and it was now our chance and we scored where they cleaned the post. This game is history and we can’t go overboard celebrating. We need to plan and prepare for Black Rhinos. The next three games, starting with Rhinos, will be key to our survival. We will survive and have to stay focused,” Ncube said.
Harare City face Rhinos on Wednesday, followed by clashes against Hwange and How Mine.
Kaindu was pained by losing, particularly having watched his players Tinashe Makanda and Pasca Manhanga missing glorious chances.
The Zambian revealed that his team did not have the best of preparations as they had to manage players in camp.
“Losing the final is very, very painful. Football is about goals. We could have wrapped up this game in the first half when we created lots of chances, but unfortunately we didn’t get a goal. We started strongly in the second half until the 60th minute when we made one mistake and the opponents capitalised.
We immediately lost concentration after conceding and gifted them the second and third goal,” said Kaindu.
“It was also difficult for us. I think we’ve passed through a very difficult time, but I give credit to the team for us to get this far. We thought that this one (winning Chibuku Super Cup) was going to give us confidence. We had our in-house problems before the final, but tried to manage the players and here we are. I don’t know where to from here,” he said. The Chronicle