By Grace Chingoma
Holders Harare City will for the first time since the return of the Chibuku Super Cup, be the missing link when the final is staged on November 5.
The Sunshine Boys have been a regular feature in the country’s biggest knock-out tournament having lost in the inaugural decider at Mandava, albeit in controversial circumstances in 2014.
Last year Harare City, then under Taurai Mangwiro got it right edging Dynamos 2-1 in the final at the National Sports Stadium.
But on Saturday, they were back at Mandava where FC Platinum ensured Moses Chunga and his men could not put the icing on the coach’s 51st birthday celebrations when handing them a heavy 3-0 defeat.
And this time there was not much of the kind of the controversy that characterised the loss that Masimba Dinyero’s Harare City suffered in the 2014 final although Chunga was yesterday not amused by the conduct of the miners which he felt was inspired by juju practices and cast a shadow on the image of the domestic game.
With Harare City missing for the first time in the final, it will be FC Platinum who will be seeking a second Chibuku title when they tackle Ngezi Platinum at a venue yet to be decided by the Premier Soccer League.
Chunga yesterday reflected on the game in which they seemed to melt in the heat of Zvishavane and attributed the loss to some poor defending by his men.
The veteran coach was however, putting on a brave face and insisted that despite the disappointment of the defeat “life goes on” following their exit from the Chibuku Cup, which will mean a trophyless season for the Sunshine Boys.
“It is very disappointing that we failed to progress to the final. When we were searching for an equaliser we made unnecessary blunders.
“We were also affected by the coming out of centre back Hastings Chapusha, who started feeling some side pains and we were left leaking like a sieve.
“Also some of the conditions we were exposed to during that match were not good. I have never seen such football in my life but I don’t want to go into that,” said Chunga.
He was referring to the incident where FC Platinum players kept on deflating match balls so that Harare City, who were the home team exhausted their balls and ended up using the miners’ balls.
Chunga reckoned that this was inspired by some beliefs in juju.
Harare City fell to a first half goal by striker Rodwell Chinyengetere before veteran forward Charles Sibanda and winger Marshal Mudehwe inflicted more pain on the visitors.
But Chunga is not burying his head in the sand following the loss and said he was now looking beyond the Chibuku Cup and planning for next season.
The former Gunners coach, who secured his future at the Sunshine Boys by inking a two-year contract at Town House last week, said his thrust starting with the league assignment against Caps United would be to give more game time to younger players.
“We are now focusing on the league but as a team which is out of the league race, I think we will give plenty of opportunity to the young players in the remaining league matches.
“For the remainder of the season, Hastings is taking over the captaincy from Tafadzwa Dube. We are rewarding him for good performance and in Saturday’s game even the FC Platinum supporters applauded him.
“He still needs to improve on communication and organisation but leadership doesn’t have anything to do with age. When I was a player I was given responsibilities when I was still young at Dynamos and I feel he deserves it,” said Chunga.
Since he arrived at Harare City, Chunga has been integrating a number of young players with the more seasoned teammates, fusing such Under-20 players like Learnmore Muyambo, Jerry Chipangura and Tatenda Tumba into the regular side.
The move is also in line with Harare City’s thrust to develop young talent.
The former Gunners and Dynamos coach has complemented well the club’s efforts of promoting their juniors.
“We are not going to buy any players next season, so we want to give a run to many youngsters in the remaining matches.
“You are going to see even players such as goalkeeper Tatenda Munditi having game time,” said Chunga.
Chunga said he was humbled with the contract and promised to repay the club’s chiefs for their faith in him.
“The week began well with the news of the contract but didn’t end well with the defeat but I will take the contract. It gives me more time to build a legacy at Harare City.
“For you to be successful, if you don’t get criticism you won’t achieve the goals. I would like to thank the executive for showing trust in me and also thank the Mayor for his continued support as well the councillors,” said Chunga. Chronicle