Tobias Mandoreba in Hwange
Hwange ………….. 0
Highlanders ……… (1) 1
HWANGE – Milton Ncube struck just before the break with a blistering grounder as leaders Highlanders maintained top spot on the Castle Lager Premier league table following a cliffhanger encounter agaionst Hwange before a big crowd at the Colliery yesterday.
The dazzling match, which set the coalmining town alight from the early hours of yesterday, was nearly dampened by a lengthy 30 minutes delay after a clash of colours. Highlanders, as the away team did not have another set of jerseys as their black shorts clashed with those of Hwange.
It only took the intervention of the Hwange veterans soccer team who had to send one of their players and former Hwange midfielder Alick Nyoni to his house to collect red shorts which were then used by the Bulawayo giants.
Ironically Bosso have just sealed a deal with international kit manufacturer Adidas, which will see even their fans being able to buy genuine replica jerseys. A fuming Hwange secretary Burzil Dube had no kind words for Bosso during the delay.
“How on earth can a team like Highlanders travel with one jersey? This is not good for our football.
There is more order in social leagues than what we are seeing here and what makes it more embarrassing is the fact that this is not the first time Highlanders are doing that when they come to play here.” Dube said.
Apart from the delay, it was Hwange who started the match with fully charged batteries as they harassed the Bosso rearguard from the first whistle.
Just after five minutes, the coalminers knocked on the Bosso doors as Isaac Masame and Andrew Tshuma’s blinding move ended with the latter hurrying his shot which went awkwardly wide from close range.
When Highlanders decided to wake up from their slow start in the 10th minute, it was with so much venom as goal scorer Ncube and overlapping left back Bruce Kangwa’s lethal combination on the left flank needed a brave decision from evergreen defender David Boriwondo who stretched himself to limits to push a Kangwa cross out for Bosso’s first corner kick.
Hwange were not moved by the threat as hardly two minutes they again came out with guns blazing when fast improving Tafara Chese roasted Kangwa on the right flank before laying a sitter for the dreadlocked midfielder Nkosana Siwela who blasted way over the bar from a few meters out.
The trading of blows by the two teams continued as fans were treated to a football delicacy with ingredients of flowing passes, clean tackles and sheer determination to outwit opponents.
Bosso fans were up in the air in the 20th minute in anticipation of an opener but wereleft a disappointed lot after the lanky Heritani Masuku drove into the Hwange half with a mazy solo run only to disappoint with an effort which was directed to the skies.
The coalminers continued to have the edge in midfield where Siwela, Tshuma and Craven Banda had an edge over the Bosso trio of Mthulisi Maphosa, Masuku and Milton Ncube.
That dominance for the home side fizzled in the last quarter of the first half as the visitors started to harass their rearguard with some menacing attacks.
It was during this spell that Hwange had to thank defender Munyaradzi Mungadze for scooping the ball from Njabulo Ncube’s feet in the box before the stocky striker had unleashed fire.
In a swift counter attack by Hwange, the vocal black and white masses had their hearts in their mouths as defender Kangwa cleared the ball off the line after a Siwela effort. On the stroke of half time Bosso fans then erupted into song and dance when Ncube found the back of the nets with a fine effort.
Again it was his combination with Kangwa which produced wonders for the Bulawayo giants as the duo combined well before Ncube burst into the Hwange box with so much pace before unleashing a cracking effort into the far posts.
An outstretched Timothy Sibanda could only push the effort into the nets with his fingertips.
Hwange’s script of failing to score again came to the fore two minutes after the breather when a Boriwondo flashing header, off a delicate Craven Banda corner was again cleared from the line by Masuku to leave the Hwange fans stunned.
The home team’s woes in front of goal continued when striker Evans Rusike got what was probably their best chacne of the afternoon in the 55th minute when he latched onto a Chese pass only to watch in agony as his shot zoomed over the crossbar from close range.
Then came the ugly face of hooliganism as play had to be stopped in the 67th minute for three minutes as both sets of fans engaged in skirmishes. Police, in full gear, quickly restored order and focus returned on the big battle in the field.
After the brief stop, the coalminers threw everyone forward in search of an equaliser but if it was not an alert Ariel Sibanda thwarting their efforts, it was the defence, well marshaled by Innocent Mapuranga doing all the housekeeping.
At the end of the day it was Bosso who went all the way back to the City of Kings with smiles after a passing a difficult assignment against a gritty Hwange who did everything that has to be done in football only to be let down by lack of precision in front of goal.
Nation Dube bemoaned the glut of missed chances at the end of the game.
“In football you win games by scoring goals and it was clear the boys failed to do that and in this game you get punished at the end of the day.” said Dube.
Bosso gaffer Kelvin Kaindu was happy to go to the two week break with a set of maximum points.
“I am very happy to go to the break with such an important win. Meanwhile we want to work on the mistakes I saw today of which some them include committing to many unnecessary fouls. But overally I am a happy man.” Kaindu said.
HWANGE: T Sibanda; M Mpofu; M Mungadze; G Ndlovu; A Tshuma; D Boriwondo; I Masame (P Mpelele 68th min); C Banda; N Siwela (G Zulu56th min); T Chese (E Halungu 81st min); E Rusike
HIGHLANDERS: A Sibanda; L Nkomo; B Kangwa; D Ndlovu; I Mapuranga; H Madzivanyika; M Maphosa; H Masuku (E Mudzingwa 78th min); M Ncube; G Ncube (M Mambare 51st min); N Ncube(S Munawa 65th min).